April, 2023

202325Apr18:30Child Adoption: Greek Myth, Literature, and Reality27th Kimon Friar Lecture18:30

Event Details

27th Kimon Friar Lecture
Child Adoption: Greek Myth, Literature, and Reality


By Gonda Van Steen
Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, Department of Classics at King’s College London

When: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 | 18:30
Where: ACG Events Hall, The American College of Greece,
6 Gravias Street, Aghia Paraskevi-Athens, Greece
(Parking upon availability)

Organized by: The American College of Greece & the Attica Tradition Foundation

The event is free and open to the public, on a first-come, first-served basis. Reception to follow


About the event

Gonda Van Steen’s research on children’s adoptions from Greece to the USA in the 1950s and 1960s leads her to look at texts from ancient and modern Greek literature with fresh eyes. In this lecture, she will cover topics from 5th century BCE Greek tragedy, and specifically Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus (ca. 430 BCE). She will also explore how the modern field of adoption studies and its terminology may help us to reconceptualize the famous story written by Georgios Vizyinos, Τὸ ἁμάρτημα τῆς μητρός μου, My Mother’s Sin.


About the speaker

Gonda Van Steen earned a BA and MA degree in Classics in her native Belgium and a PhD degree in Classics and Hellenic Studies from Princeton University. Her research interests include Greek language and literature through Byzantine and Modern Greek, Western travelers to Greece and the Ottoman Empire, 19th and 20th century receptions of the classics and especially of ancient theater, and modern Greek intellectual and social history. Van Steen holds the position of Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature in the Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Department of Classics at King’s College London. She is the first woman to hold the Koraes Chair.

Van Steen is the author of the following books: Venom in Verse: Aristophanes in Modern Greece, published by Princeton University Press in 2000 and was awarded the John D. Criticos Prize from the London Hellenic Society; Liberating Hellenism from the Ottoman Empire, (2010); Theatre of the Condemned: Classical Tragedy on Greek Prison Islands (OUP, 2011); Stage of Emergency: Theater and Public Performance under the Greek Military Dictatorship of 1967-1974 (OUP, 2015) and Adoption, Memory and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo? (University of Michigan Press, 2019). The latter appeared also in Greek translation as Ζητούνται παιδιά από την Ελλάδα: Υιοθεσίες στην Αμερική του Ψυχρού Πολέμου (Athens: Potamos, 2021). This book won the 2019 Book Prize of the European Society of Modern Greek Studies. Van Steen is also preparing the annotated edition of a postwar and Civil War memoir written by an American social worker active in relief services in northern Greece: The Battle for Bodies, Hearts, and Minds in Postwar Greece: Social Worker Charles Schermerhorn in Thessaloniki, 1946-1951 (Routledge, 2023). Van Steen has further published articles on ancient Greek and late antique literature, on postwar Greek feminism, and on Cavafy. Her latest research project is a long-term study of the organized mass adoptions of Greek children to the USA (and to the Netherlands) in the first fifteen years following the end of the Greek Civil War (1950-mid 1960s).

For more information, contact us at: +30 210 600 9800 ext. 1456 or [email protected]