Center for Hellenic Studies


International Conference: “Phronesis: reflections on rationality and practical wisdom” (1 & 2 March, 2024)

We are pleased to announce that The Center for Hellenic Studies  at the University of Chicago is oganizing a conference on Phronesis on March 1-2, 2024, in collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) on the basis of a recent initiative between the University of Chicago and the CNRS for the advancement of innovative research. 

Our aim is to explore how we might engage with a set of foundational Hellenic texts, as we consider urgent contemporary questions and try to find solutions. In every epoch, new ethical ideas are needed to enable humanity to thrive and advance. Today, as we grapple with unprecedented technological advances that bring great new challenges— including the climate crisis, rising inequalities, and war—  we hope to be able to establish a dialogue between philosophical and more applied fields in the direction of renewing conversation with potential practical implications.Aristotle’s notion of phronesis—typically translated as practical wisdom, or prudence  is a useful guiding principle due to its unique way of understanding human agency by balancing between opposites: rationality and emotion, universal principles and concern for particular problems and action, pragmatism and utopianism, rigidity and flexibility.

Phronesis is suggested by Aristotle to be the principle guiding decision making: it is the rationality that addresses things that depend on choice and  defines good and ethical agency. In the conference, we intend to explore how phronesis can be used to define good agency in a variety of fields. 

The Greek Language: Present, Past, and Teaching Challenges

The conference was co-organized by the Center of Hellenic Studies, the Greek Consulate in Chicago and the Democritus University of Thrace

Launching event for the Center for Hellenic Studies

Polyhedric Greece (November 8-9, 2019)
The Many Faces of the Greek World

Conference Program
Friday, November 8

Registration, Coffee, Greetings

10:30-11:00am – Greetings from, among others:

  • Dean Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of Humanities, University of Chicago
  • Jason Merchant, Vice Provost
  • Ekaterina Dimakis, Consul General of Greece in Chicago
  • Anastasia Giannakidou, Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies; Department of Linguistics

Plenary talk

11:00-12:00pm – Edith Hall, King’s College London: The Homeric Odyssey as Greek and World Literature Before and After Homer

12:15-2:00pm – LUNCH

Afternoon Session: Polis (Πόλις): Sovereignty and the state

2:00-2:30pm – Stathis Kalyvas, Gladstone Professor of Government, All Souls College, University of Oxford: What is Greece a Case of ?

2:30-3:00pm – Anthony Kaldellis, Professor and Chair, Department of Classics, Ohio State University: Politeia: From Plato’s Republic to Constantine’s New Rome

3:00-3:15pm – Comments by Demetra Kasimis (Political Science, University of Chicago)

3:15-4:00pm – Discussion led by Demetra Kasimis (Political Science, University of Chicago)


4:30-5:30pm – Reception at the museum of the Oriental Institute

Saturday, November 9

Morning Session: Glossa (Γλώσσα): Language and the Teaching of Greek Language in the US

11:00-11:30am – Ioanna Sitaridou, Reader in Spanish and Historical Linguistics, Department of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, Cambridge University: Variation in Modern Greek Dialects

11:30-12:00pm – Zoe Gavriilidou, Professor of Linguistics and Vice Rector, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece: Profiling Greek Heritage Speakers of Chicago

12:00-12:30pm – Christopher Brown, Director of the Modern Greek Language Program, Ohio State University: Teaching Greek in the critical period: lessons from the Mohawks

1:00-2:00pm – LUNCH

Afternoon Session: History (Ιστορία)Greece in the East 2:00-4:30pm

2:00-2:30pm – Theodosios Kyriakidis, Reader of Pontic Studies, Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece: Greeks of Asia Minor

2:30-3:00pm – George Mavropoulos, President of the Hellenic Research Center for Asia Minor and Pontos, Chicago: Short presentation followed by a private viewing of a documentary produced by the Hellenic Research Center for Asia Minor and Pontos.

This year (2019) marks the centenary of the Genocide of Pontic Greeks, i.e., the Greeks that used to live along the north coast of Asia Minor. The event is commemorated by academic institutions across the globe.

4:00-4:30pm – Coffee, Refreshments and Closing Remarks

All talks will be held at Breasted Hall, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, 1155 East 58thAvenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637 (

Lunches on Friday (November 8) and Saturday (November 9) will be served at LaSalle Bank Room, Oriental Institute (

Conference Co-sponsors

Department of Linguistics, Department of Classics; Department of History; Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC); Franke Institute; Provost’s Office; Stevanovich Institute for the Formation of Knowledge