Questioning Greek Exceptionalism

A Forum

Welcome to the public forum on Modern Greek Exceptionalism, organized jointly by Oxford and Princeton Universities, as part of the Oxford/Princeton Research Partnership Initiative.

A term more often used in the fields of politics and history, exceptionalism is widely understood as ‘the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is “exceptional” in some way, and thus does not conform to normal rules, general principles, or the like. Used in this sense, such a perception reflects a belief formed by lived experience, ideology, perceptual frames, or perspectives influenced by knowledge (or lack thereof) of historical or comparative circumstances.’

In a similar vein, this forum belongs to a larger research project that opens up a discussion on the extent to which aspects of modern Greek history, culture and society, have been (or still are) seen as exceptional, in what circumstances and compared to which rules or frames of reference. You can read a detailed introduction to the project here, as well as more details about its previous and future outcomes.

We would like to tackle what we call ‘Greek Exceptionalism’ in two interrelated formations:

a)    Exceptionalism as a particular discourse operating within Modern Greek culture and society.

b)      Exceptionalism as a discourse shaping the object of inquiry and study in Modern Greek Studies.

At this stage we are asking academics with different disciplinary perspectives in Modern Greek Studies, to focus on these two aspects of exceptionalism (and particularly on the second) and send us a brief contribution that will be published on this website in after May 2008. [read the letter to contributors, which includes a set of leading questions, here]

If you would also like to contribute, please be in contact either with Dimitris Papanikolaou ( Constanze Güthenke (, or, especially for technical questions, Kostas Skordyles (


Home | Introduction | Letter to Contributors | Presentations