Philhellenism Workshop Abstracts

Abstracts (Authors in Alphabetical Order)

‘Adjuster and Negotiator’: ASCSA’s Director Bert Hodge Hill (1918-1926) and the Greek Refugee Crisis  (Eleftheria Daleziou)

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens had engaged staff and resources to provide support to the Greek people long before the news of the military defeat of the Greek forces in Asia Minor in September 1922. The coordinated efforts between the staff members of the School in Greece and the administration in the U.S had started in 1918 with the presence of the American Red Cross mission in Greece and culminated with the Asia Minor disaster and the ensuing refugee crisis. The School saw a compelling need to help on ethical and humanitarian grounds the host country and its people.

The paper focuses on the work and efforts of Bert Hodge Hill, the Director of the School in Athens during the period 1918-1926. Hill with America’s entry into the War had offered his services to the American Legation in Athens being in charge of the Home Service Bureau.  In 1918 he combined his knowledge of the country, the language and its people and served as a field worker with the American Red Cross Mission. In September 1922 the Director of the ASCSA was elected chairman of the Athens American Relief Committee, a local philanthropic organization coordinating the relief efforts of Americans in Athens.  Finally, after the influx of the great numbers of refugees following the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, Hill undertook also service with the Greek Refugee Settlement Commission. Throughout this period, both through his directorship of the School and his service with the relief organizations, Hill had established and maintained an excellent social web promoting the affairs of the School and relief efforts for the Greeks.

The paper aims to present the history of the involvement of Bert Hodge Hill in relief work and the School’s role in it. It does so by following Hill’s involvement in relief activities during 1918-1928.  The relations of the School with the Greek state at the local level appear smooth, as far as the evidence indicates. At times the School even cashed the excellent relations between its staff and the representatives of the Greek state for the benefit of its projects, namely the construction of the Gennadeion and the initial stages of the Athenian Agora project.

Archaeology and the Politics of Volunteerism (Jack L. Davis)

In the decade following World War I, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens on several occasions committed its resources, human and material, to addressing needs of the non-academic public in Greece through programs of emergency relief. Such public service was regarded as distinct from the School’s mission as a research and teaching institution. It is ironic that, while ASCSA saw a need to help Greeks in times of crisis, members were not often interested in supporting archaeology done by Greeks — either through programs of collaborative research, the sharing of research facilities, or the training of students. Participation in programs of emergency relief cemented interpersonal relationships between American archaeologists and Greek politicians and thus brought substantial benefits to ASCSA in the 20s and 30s — e.g., expansion of its physical plant and the inception of its excavations in the Athenian Agora. I argue in this paper that, although the desire of members of ASCSA to help Greeks through emergency relief was an honest reflection of a deep-seated commitment to philhellenism, as it was understood by American scholars, these men and women were not ignorant of the political advantage to be gained from volunteerism. I focus on the participation of ASCSA in the American Red Cross Mission to Greece in 1918-1919. My analysis of the history and consequences of this mission attempts to avoid composing a one-sided self congratulatory account of the sort that frequently appears in official institutional histories; but I am also not cynical about the motivations of members of ASCSA.
The National Project as a Trans-National Enterprise: American Archaeology in Greece, and the Excavations at the Athenian Agora (Yannis Hamilakis)

In many influential accounts of the national phenomenon and its links with archaeology, including in the seminal paper by Bruce Trigger in the Man (19:3; 1984), national (and nationalist) archaeology is juxtaposed to colonial and imperial archaeology; while the former is seen as stressing the essentialist continuity of indigenous cultures, the later appear to denigrate local developments and indigenist interpretations of the material past in favour of exogenous agents, closely linked with the ancestral mythology of the coloniser. In the Nation and its Ruins (OUP, 2007) I have tried to show that this simplistic typology fails to account for the complexity of the national phenomenon and of national archaeology, which is often a project of synergy between national and trans-national elites, and between colonial-imperial and national processes. Moreover, as the case of Greece has shown, colonialism may take different forms. It is only recently that we have started discussing Greece as a case of crypto-colonialism, and its archaeology (whether practiced by Greeks or non-Greek archaeologists) as a strange mixture of national-cum-crypto-colonial practices.

In this paper, I will take this argument further (and hopefully deeper) by exploring the production of the national dream and of the national topos as a shared endeavour of Greek and American archaeologists, politicians, administrators and others. In order to do so I will focus primarily on the excavations at the Athenian Agora, using both published accounts and unpublished material from the archives of the ASCSA. In the second half of the paper I will reflect on the role of a “foreign” archaeological school in a country like Greece today. I will suggest that the discourse of philhellenism cannot and should not continue being the framework within which a “foreign” school can operate, a discourse that, today more than ever, cannot hide its patronising undertones and its colonial origins. I will argue that, since Greek archaeology and the Hellenic national dream were constituted at the meeting ground of nationalism and colonialism, the decolonisation of Greek archaeology will have to involve all agents who are responsible for Greek archaeology, including the “foreign” archaeological schools. 

Archaeologists at War, between Patriotism and Scholarship (Despina Lalaki)

In 1942 - 1943, the archaeologists of the American School of Classical Studies went to war and served, like many of their peer historians, economists, political scientists, psychologists and anthropologists, from various posts in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the first American intelligence service. The OSS extensively recruited among the circles of scholars and intellectuals and relied on their linguistic, historical and cultural knowledge of distant nations like Greece for the development of war strategies and public policy. While the organization enjoyed the full support of the local authorities and worked closely with resistance groups such as the National Liberation Front EAM, more than sixty years later, a public discussion about the American archaeologists’ engagement in intelligence work, however, may generate differing reactions. This paper examines the reasons for which this may be the case on the following premises:

a) The partnership of a governmental organization and the ASCSA may challenge the pronounced political autonomy of the School if an elective affinity between political and cultural leadership is demonstrated.
b) The presumed ‘organicity’ of the School with the Greek community that it serves may be put to the test if its national affiliations are proven stronger than its commitment to ‘pure’ scholarship and scientific research.
c) The boundaries of scientific and social practices may shift in face of the merging of scholarship with governmental practices of rule and control.

Hydraulic Euergetism: American Archaeology and Waterworks in Early-20th-century Greece (Betsey A. Robinson)

Near Marathon in 1929, the American firm Ulen & Co. completed one of the finest dams of its time to supply water to a growing Athens. They embedded their modern marvel in the Attic landscape and in Athenian history by facing it in Pentelic marble and erecting a perfect copy of the Athenian Treasury of Delphi at its foot. Near Thessaloniki, Ulen and other firms straightened rivers and transformed marshland into habitable territory. While dredging the Strymon River in 1930, Ulen-Monks workers discovered fragments of a colossal lion. French-American collaborators reconstructed the sculpture in situ, sponsored by American Minister to Greece, Lincoln MacVeagh, and other private donors. Just as Oscar Broneer sent his monograph, The Lion of Amphipolis, to press, World War II interrupted efforts at the site, but when peace was restored, attention turned back to its public presentation. While commercial water works inspired antiquarian ventures at Marathon and Amphipolis, archaeology drove hydraulic euergetism at Corinth. In uncovering the Peirene Fountain in 1898, American archaeologists upset a delicate relationship between an aged water system and the village that still depended upon it. The American School, the American Red Cross and the Greek government repeatedly tried to control and clean the source, and in 1932, Bert Hodge Hill initiated a comprehensive sanitation program with the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Athens School of Hygiene. Theirs was a cutting-edge sanitary project for a local source. Less spectacular than the Marathon Dam, less famous than the Lion of Amphipolis, this work remains an important case study in rural groundwater management, and it was an investment in the future of Ancient Corinth.

Edward Capps and Bert Hodge Hill: Antagonistic Philhellenes at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and at Athens College (David D. Rupp)

The fifteen-year period between 1918 and 1933 was a tumultuous one for Greece and its people.  In war they saw both rewarding victory and devastating defeat.  The continuing royalist / Venizelist battles for political and cultural dominance intensified the negative effects of Greece’s changing international fortunes. During the darkest moments of this period Americans and occasional the American government came first to the aid of Greeks in need at the end of the war and then to the myriad of refugees forced out of Asia Minor in the aftermath of the total victory by Turkey in 1922 and the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.  First, the American Red Cross (ARC) and later various ad hoc committees assisted the destitute in need of emergency aid.  A number of the Americans who participated in these relief efforts were important members of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), living more or less permanently in Athens, or frequent visitors to Greece.  Among these were Bert Hodge Hill and Edward Capps. These two men’s paths crossed at three crucial points:  first, in service to the ASCSA, then, through service in the in ARC and, finally, in service to Athens College.  On the surface it would appear that they were close professional colleagues, with shared values, dedicated to helping Greece when and where needed.  Hill, the Director of the ASCSA from 1906 to 1926, was one of the founding members of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic-American Educational Foundation that created in 1925 and operated Athens College.  Starting in 1926 Capps was driving force in the creation in 1927 of a group of Americans who became the Board of Trustees of Athens College, based in New York.  These two boards shared responsibility for the welfare of the College.

With this linked history between these two men, the paper will analyze the nature of their philanthropic service in AC’s initial years, between 1925 and 1929, and in the process reveal how they dealt with their strong personal antagonisms toward each other that had arisen from the internal politics of the ASCSA during this period.

The reconstruction of the Stoa of Attalos: Ideological and Political Aspects (Niki Sakka)

The reconstruction of the Hellenistic Stoa of Attalos to serve as the Agora museum, between 1953 and 1956, was both the most ambitious and expensive enterprise of the ASCSA and the biggest restoration program carried out in Greece during that decade. The decision was agreed upon by the School and the Greek authorities in 1949, at a time of intense American involvement in the country, marked by the enactment of the Marshall Plan.
Ever since, the Stoa, which was met with a mixed response both in Greece and in America, forms the most famous material landmark of the Agora, the civic centre of Ancient Athens. As such, it became a powerful means by which the School registered its presence on the modern city’s landscape, expanded its social influence and promoted its principles and values.
In this context, any attempt to study the politics of managing the project, the fundraising drive and the intentions, motives and expectations of all the participants, serves to explore intriguing issues such as the evolving relationships of the School and the American and Greek authorities, the methods used by the American archaeologists in order to achieve their purposes or the ideologies that determine the management strategies for heritage sites.

The Carnegie Appropriations to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens: Gifts Wrapped Up in Successful Social Networking (Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan)

In the first two decades of the 20th century, rich industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller were establishing philanthropic trusts with one mission “the welfare of the mankind.” The American School was a late starter in tapping the rich resources of these foundations. With its low-profile the School was self-absorbed and led by chairmen who did not prioritize the School’s business and directors who were accustomed to manage its programs passively. As a result, the School did not begin to benefit from these foundations on a large scale until the third decade of the 20th century. The beginning of Edward Capps’s chairmanship of the Managing Committee of the American School in 1919 signaled new paths that would lead major achievements in the history of the institution. There are good reasons why he was thus called the “second founder” of the American School of Classical Studies (ASCSA AR 1949-1950).
While many papers of this workshop will examine the philhellenic or philanthropic motives of members of the American School in Greece, as well as the immediate or long-term outcomes of such actions for the “good” of the School, this study focuses instead on the other side of the Atlantic. It takes at the reasons why American foundation philanthropy became interested in supporting the work of the American School in Greece in the interwar period, which represented “an age of innocence” for American politics and intervention in Greece. From its establishment in 1881 until the late 1970’s, the School’s relationship to philanthropic institutions can be divided into three periods: a) the Carnegie period; b) the Rockefeller period; and c) the Ford period. For reasons of space and time, I have chosen to concentrate on the appropriations of the Carnegie philanthropic trusts to the American School, which span a period of approximately twenty years (1904-1925).
My main resources for this paper include the Archives of the American School, the Carnegie Corporation Records (at Columbia University), the records of the Carnegie Institution of Washington,
and a monograph by Ellen Condliffe Lagemann devoted to the Carnegie Corporation (CC), titled The Politics of Knowledge. The Carnegie Corporation, Philanthropy and Public Policy (Chicago 1992). Although Lagemann chose not to deal with the international programs of the CC, not including the grants to the American School or the American Academy in Rome, her work has been extremely helpful in understanding the history and the powerful individuals who were involved in the policy making of the Corporation.