What is Modern Greek Studies?
GREEK, GREEKS, GREECE, and HELLENISM lie at the heart of modern Greek studies. "Modern" distinguishes the subject from ancient Greek, which people usually designate as "Greek." Modern means Greek after 1452, especially Greek of the past 2 centuries. But what exactly defines the Greek? Is it language? people? geography? civilization? history? region? religion? customs? tradition? political organization? social structure? Or does the "Greek" refer to Greek ideals articulated by philosophers, writers, and travelers from Lord Byron to Henry Miller?

Modern Greek Studies covers all of these subjects. Greece is a product of cultural mixing, of the streaming together of ideas, customs, languages, knowledge, and people in Southern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Located at the confluence of civilizations since antiquity, Greece has always benefited from this blending. Students of Greece, therefore, encounter the cultural crucible of the Mediterranean basin. Greek culture is also the product of Greek migrations. Greek diasporas are an important subject of Modern Greek Studies.

The Hellenic tradition constitutes an incomparable cross-cultural field of learning and investigation. Greek studies includes the interdisciplinary examination of Greek literature, history, thought and culture from antiquity to the present, as well as the influences of that civilization on other histories and cultures through the centuries. Thus the study of Greece is not limited to the Eastern Mediterranean but covers the continuous movements, appropriations, and transformations of Hellenism on a global scale.

What is the Chair in Modern Greek?
The Modern Greek Chair refers to a permanent faculty position endowed through gifts from contributors and a grant from the International Institute of the University of Michigan. Money to finance the Chair has been put in trust. The University preserves the principle in perpetuity, as it draws from interest to finance the Program. The fact that there is a Chair in Modern Greek means that the future of modern Greek at the University of Michigan is guaranteed for as long as the University exists.

What advantages are there to learning modern Greek?

  • Educational advantages — Many of the hardest and most important college subjects use Greek terms and ideas. Medicine, biology, architecture, philosophy, physics, political science, geology, and mathematics, to mention a few, rely on Greek vocabulary and concepts.
  • Professional Advantages — Greece stands at the geopolitical crossroads of Southern and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Modern Greek opens employment opportunities in business, commerce, finance, technology, travel, banking, journalism, media, education, lay, and gives you a competitive edge in graduate school.
  • Travel Advantages — Greek is spoken in a beautiful country blessed with famous islands, cosmopolitan cities, mythical landscapes, as well as monuments from the classical, Christian, medieval, Renaissance, and modern eras. Greece has been a favorite destination for adventurous souls for 4000 years.
  • Cultural advantages — Greek language and culture have been an integral part of the American society from the very beginning. Within Michigan alone, we find them in the architecture of Ann Arbor, the name of the neighboring town Ypsilanti, "Greek Town" in Detroit, Orthodox churches in most cities, and the "Greek system" on most campuses.

Is modern Greek easy?
Greek words enrich the language we speak. In fact, over 20% of English vocabulary comes from Greek-the Greek Greeks still speak today!

Who takes modern Greek classes?
Students of all backgrounds and fields of interest. In addition, people can take modern Greek classes who are not enrolled as regular students at the University of Michigan.

Can students of Modern Greek pursue other degrees?
Of course!

Do modern Greek classes fulfill University requirements?
Yes! Every course fulfills a university requirement. The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) requires that a student have the equivalent of two college years of a foreign language for a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. The modern Greek language courses fulfill the undergraduate language requirement. Other courses fulfill freshman and upper level writing requirements and the race and ethnicity requirement and social science distribution.

Can a persons pursue graduate studies in modern Greek at the University of Michigan?
Graduate students in a wide range of disciplines study modern Greek. Although we do not yet offer graduate degrees in modern Greek, we supervise students in a variety of fields, from history and anthropology to comparative literature and classical studies.

Who attends modern Greek events?
People of all backgrounds interested in the subject attend events. Please refer to our calendar or for details.

When is the modern Greek language sequence offered?
Every Fall, Modern Greek 101 is offered for the beginner, with little or no knowledge of the language. MGK 201 covers the needs of those who can speak and write some. In the Winter, you continue with MGK 102 and MGK 202. Successful completion of 202 fulfills the LSA foreign language requirement. Classes meet Monday-Friday, 12-1 for MGK 101 and 102 and 11-12 for MGK 201 and 202.