It would be nice to think that all those who joined the petition to save the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at King’s College London were able to sway the mind of College Principal Rick Trainor. Whatever the influences on him the result announced this week is one that we should all welcome …
King’s College London has today announced plans to enhance its Centre for Hellenic Studies by significantly broadening the scope of its activities to include for the first time teaching as well as research.
The Centre will be focused on the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature (inaugurated in 1919), and will bring together academics, students, alumni and friends from a growing number of disciplines to study all aspects of the history and culture of the Greek-speaking world over four millennia. The College’s plans build on its long history of teaching and research in these areas and are designed to ensure that options in the study of the Hellenic world are widely available to students in the School of Arts & Humanities, and across the College generally. The new arrangements will come into place on 1 September 2010.
King’s College London has operated a Centre for Hellenic Studies since 1989. As a research centre it has until now co-ordinated the activities of several departments, but has not had its own dedicated staff or registered students. Under the new arrangements, the Centre for Hellenic Studies will incorporate the Department of Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies, including its staff. Students will be registered in the Centre and it will be able to run its own teaching programmes.
The Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature will be employed wholly in the Centre; other staff will normally hold joint appointments, in the Centre and in other departments with interests in the study of Greek history and culture, as three members of staff already do. In this way existing examples of co-operation in a variety of disciplines will become formalised, making it possible for many more students than at present to take courses in Byzantine and modern Greek studies and to increase the range of PhD subjects offered. It goes without saying that the Centre will continue to work closely with the College’s Department of Classics, through which the College will also for the first time run a 6-week intensive summer course in Ancient Greek from 5 July – 13 August 2010 as part of its Summer School.
The Department of Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies will thus be incorporated into the Centre for Hellenic Studies on 1 September 2010. Thereafter the Centre will assume the responsibilities of the Department for teaching and research, combined with a rich series of lectures, seminars and publications across the full range of Hellenic studies. The first, interim, Director of the new Centre for Hellenic Studies will be Professor David Ricks, Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature and currently Head of the Department of Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies. He will oversee the transition of activities from the Department to the Centre, and be succeeded on 1 January 2011 by Professor Charlotte Roueché, Professor of Late Antique & Byzantine Studies. She will direct the Centre until the present Koraes Professor, Professor Roderick Beaton, returns from a 3-year Leverhulme Fellowship to become Director on 1 September 2012.
In September 2011 the Centre for Hellenic Studies will launch its first new programme, the MA in Greek Tradition. This programme will allow students to study the Greek-speaking world from the second millennium BC to the present day and will draw on the exceptionally rich library resources held by King’s College London.
Re-affirming King’s historic responsibility Professor Rick Trainor, Principal of King’s College London, commented, ‘The study of the Greek world from pre-history to the present day is a distinctive feature of what we do at King’s and the re-launch of the Centre for Hellenic Studies demonstrates our continuing commitment to the subject. I am particularly pleased to be able to make this announcement on Greek Independence Day.’
Professor Emeritus Dame Averil Cameron, the Founding Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies, commented, ‘It is deeply encouraging to know that the importance of the Centre’s work is recognised and will be maintained in this way, and I know that the news will be warmly received all over the world where Hellenic Studies is studied and valued. I also write as President of the International Federation of Associations of Classical Studies (FIEC), which represents the study of classics worldwide.’
Professor Roderick Beaton, Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature, said, ‘King’s has come up with a bold and principled way of reaffirming its historic responsibility for a specialist subject-area in which the College has long excelled, now that the UK government, sadly, no longer provides central support for ‘minority’ subjects. The re-launched Centre for Hellenic Studies gives us a sustainable structure within which we can deliver teaching and research of the highest quality, and build on our reputation as a ‘flagship’ institution in the fields of modern Greek studies, Byzantine studies and, through close collaboration with our colleagues in Classics, Hellenic Studies in the widest sense.’