UIC Greek historian selected for diaspora fellowship

Paris Papamichos Chronakis

Paris Papamichos Chronakis, UIC lecturer in classics and Mediterranean studies.

Paris Papamichos Chronakis, a modern Greek historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is among 21 Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars from American and Canadian universities selected for the inaugural cohort of a new Greek scholar exchange program.

The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program, administered by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, and funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is designed to help avert Greece’s brain-drain and bring scholars back to the country for academic projects at Greek universities.

Chronakis, a lecturer in classics and Mediterranean studies at UIC, will spend two months working with Giorgos Antoniou, chair of Jewish studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, on curriculum development and research linking digital humanities with modern Greek and Jewish studies.

The project will focus on designing a multi-format course about the history and culture of the Jews of Greece and the Mediterranean region.

“The course will couple the physical experience of onsite learning in one of Europe’s most celebrated Jewish cities with its digital equivalent for online learners using digital geo-tools,” said Chronakis, whose Greece-based work will begin in mid-May.

The project’s research component, “Networks of Survival,” is an online platform that will offer digital visualizations of the social networks Greek Jewish Holocaust survivors established in the Nazi concentration camps.

“This digital platform will offer historians a valuable tool to analyze the social determinants of trust and survival and to reconstruct social life in the camps from the bottom up,” said Chronakis.

That project will serve as the basis for “The Diaspora Classroom,” bringing students from UIC and Aristotle University together online to learn and do collaborative research on modern Greek and Jewish studies.

The researchers eventually plan to make the course and platform available to students and researchers around the world.