Center for Hellenic Studies
Nestled in Rock Creek Park behind Embassy Row, the Center for Hellenic Studies offers a variety of both residential and remote fellowships each year to scholars and researchers working on projects in a variety of fields, including "archaeology, art history, epigraphy, history, literary criticism, philology, philosophy, pedagogical applications, reception, and interdisciplinary studies." The Center provides housing for "residential" fellows and their families, and accommodates remote fellows and visiting scholars during shorter stays. Fellows are selected by a panel of Senior Fellows, a group of five internationally-selected senior classicists. Fellows are typically pre-tenured PhDs from around the world, most often from Europe or North America. The "Center", as it is commonly called, has been a stopping point in the careers of many budding classicists who have gone on to be major contributors in the field.
Director of the Center
The Director of the Center is hired by Harvard University. Michael C.J. Putnam (Brown University, 1962) was the first director, but acted as a substitute for Bernard Knox (Yale University, 1963–1985), the Center's first official Director. Knox was succeeded by Zeph Stewart (Harvard University, 1985–1992), and Stewart by Co-Directors, Kurt Raaflaub and Deborah Boedeker (Brown University, 1992–2000). The current Director of the Center is Gregory Nagy (Harvard University, 2000–present).
The main building of the Center houses one of the world's premier research libraries for the study of the classical world. The library is primarily used by residential and visiting fellows, as well as visiting scholars, but it is also open to the public. It includes a rare book room with several ancient manuscripts. The main building also houses offices for the fellows, the staff, and the administration.
The wooded campus has a large mansion as the director's residence, a "stoa" with five apartments for the fellows without families, three cottages for the fellows with families, two subdivided cottages serving as double residences, five guest-rooms to accommodate visitors, and one cottage that has been transformed into a multi-media conference facility. There is easy access from the Center to Rock Creek Park.
The Center was established in 1961 through an endowment, "exclusively for the establishment of an educational center in the field of Hellenic Studies designed to rediscover the humanism of the Hellenic Greeks," made by the Old Dominion Foundation, (the predecessor to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). The governing body was the "Trustees of Harvard University" (not equivalent to Harvard University, however). The Center was completed in 1963 by the architect H. Page Cross on land donated by Marie Beale in memory of her son, Walker Blaine Beale (Harvard College class of 1918) who died in World War I. In 1996, the Italian Embassy bought about half of the land from the Center and built a new facility there. In the mid-1990s, under the directorship of Raaflaub and Boedecker, the Center was greatly expanded (from 8 Junior Fellows to 12, and with a significant renovation of the library).
Starting in 2000, the current Director, Gregory Nagy, has brought a new focus on outreach (both national and international), information technology, publishing, and collaborative research to the Center for Hellenic Studies, as evidenced by the Center's dynamic website. In 2003, under Nagy's direction, the Center began renovations to transform one of the cottages into a new multi-media conference center. The design plans were drawn up by the architectural firm, Convergeo, and in 2006, the "Digital Agora" was unveiled.
In September 2006, the Center for Hellenic Studies opened a campus in Nafplion, Greece. John Petropoulos is the first, and current Director of Research for the Center in Nafplion. The offices in Nafplion help to coordinate the summer programs that the Center offers, including opportunities for research, study and internship abroad. Currently, the Center for Hellenic Studies is working as a partner institution with the Onassis Foundation to prepare for the Athens Dialogues Conference that the Onassis Foundation will host in Athens this November.
- Lindquist, Eric N. "The Origins of the Center for Hellenic Studies." Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1990. ISBN 0-691-03174-6