International Cavafy Summer School 2018: Open Call

The International Cavafy Summer School is a major international annual scholarly event organised by the Cavafy Archive and the Onassis Foundation, the first such regular event to be devoted exclusively to Cavafy and the impact of his work.

Following the inaugural summer school that took place in July 2017, on the theme of Cavafy in the World, this year’s summer school will take place on 9-15 July 2018. The International Cavafy Summer School 2018 will focus on Cavafy and Antiquity, a theme that shares many points of connection with the first summer school and its global concerns. The study of antiquity is itself experiencing a junction where both the ancient world and the modern world relating to it have expanded and changed. To probe against this background Cavafy’s antiquity, which is decentred yet concrete, untimely yet temporally specific, shared yet individually mediated, uncertain yet asserted, offers the potential for new insights and new second-order questions about the study of Cavafy and of the study of Classics alike.

Among the topics that the Summer School will aim to consider are: does Cavafy’s approach to antiquity constitute a form of classicism, or post-classicism? Does it constitute a critical classicism, as well as enable a new, critical approach to canonicity? How capacious is Cavafy’s ancient world, spatially and temporally? Can Cavafy’s antiquity provide new impetus for thinking about the relationship of the classical, untimeliness, or lateness? What new models and theoretical insights for both Classical Reception Studies and Modern Greek Studies can Cavafy’s antiquity offer? What mediators shaped and shape Cavafy’s antiquity, such as scholarship, translations, or archaeology? To what extent has Cavafy shaped them in turn? What is Cavafy’s relation to the archeological, museological and philological breakthroughs of his time? How is Cavafy’s antiquity related to notions and histories of Greek nationalism or other forms of ethnic, community and affective belonging? How does Cavafy’s Hellenism respond to the international movements of Aestheticism and Decadence? To what extent can we categorize Cavafy’s antiquity as a “queer fiction of the past”? What media does Cavafy’s antiquity communicate with, other than textuality? Does Cavafy offer us new forms of comparison and relationality with the past? Is Cavafy’s antiquity an urgent antiquity for our time? We are encouraging research and thought that is open to theoretical, historical, and comparative issues, and that seeks to leverage Cavafy’s antiquity to ask fresh questions about the knowledge of antiquity and the stances and practices this knowledge can involve.

The International Cavafy Summer School 2018 will be convened by Constanze Güthenke and Dimitris Papanikolaou (both at the University of Oxford). Tutors and presenters will include Johanna Hanink (Brown University), Brooke Holmes (Princeton University), Stefano Evangelista (University of Oxford), Alastair Blanshard (University of Queensland), Takis Kayalis (University of Ioannina) and Christodoulos Panayiotou (artist); it will take place at the historical building of the Onassis Foundation in the centre of Athens.

Workshops will run mornings and afternoons for 6 days (pending finalised timetable). Built around morning seminars and afternoon research presentations, this year’s programme aims to enrich and enhance the participants’ knowledge of Cavafy and his work, opening up new directions and comparative perspectives within world literature, while simultaneously broadening the scope of Cavafy research. The tutors, all senior experts in the field, will offer comprehensive 3-hour seminars in the mornings. Twelve junior participants (doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and early career academics) will be invited to present their work in the afternoon sessions, receive feedback from their peers, and engage in discussion. Additional lectures, performances and events will also be scheduled for the duration of the School.

One of the aims of the Cavafy Summer School is to encourage future collaborations and research, especially among scholars who follow different methodologies and are at different stages of their career.  For this reason, successful applicants will be notified by the end of February 2018, and will be required to submit a version of their presentation in advance.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Onassis Foundation and the Cavafy Archive, the Summer School will be able to cover all expenses for tuition, accommodation and subsistence for all participants. There is, therefore, no fee requirement for tuition. Students and early career researchers can also apply for a grant to cover all or part of their travel expenses for coming to Athens.

The Cavafy Summer School is a unique opportunity to attend world-class talks and to showcase new research. Doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and early-career academics whose work relates to the fields of Comparative Literature, World Literature, Gender Studies, Cavafy Studies, Greek Studies and related areas, and who would like to take part in the Cavafy Summer School are encouraged to apply with:

a)    a letter containing a short overview of their current research and their motivation for participating in the school (no more than 500 words)
b)    a description of the specific topic they would be able to tackle in the Summer School in a 30 minute presentation (no more than 300 words), as well as
c)    a full CV and
d)    the name of one referee who can be contacted to provide support for their application.

In exceptional cases, one or two post-graduate students with verified skills and an apt interest in the theme of the summer school might also be accepted as participants.

The working language of the International Cavafy Summer School will be English. Proceedings will be recorded and parts of the talks published online on the Cavafy Archive Youtube Channel .

Knowledge of Modern Greek is not a prerequisite, but familiarity with Cavafy’s work is.

Deadline for applications for the 2018 Cavafy Summer School:  Wednesday 31 January 2018

Please address all relevant material and any inquiries to: Theodoros Chiotis and Marianna Christofi at

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