OEAI Fellows Lecture Series

As part of the OeAI Fellows Lecture Series scholars present their research during a fellowship at the OeAI. The next lecture will be held by Dr. Maria Oikonomou-Meurer MA (University of Vienna) at the OeAI branch in Athens. She is working on the topic of “Transcribing Borders – Elements of a Literature of Migration” during her fellowship at the OeAI Athens. Literary texts that have grown out of, discuss, or in some other way include the discursive field of migration are central to her research.

In her lecture “In the Body and Against the Law: Gender Aspects of Nostalgia” Dr. Oikonomou-Meurer will deal with the topic of nostalgia, an issue that has functioned as a crucial example for the spread of the experience of foreignness into the somatic sphere since the early modern. While the wish of migrants and exiles to return home already defines the Homeric Odyssey and thus the founding moment of Western literature, in antiquity and the pre-modern period it always remains a movement of the spirit and a mental direction that is best described in the metaphorical organ of a »longing heart«.

In the modern period the differentiation and increase in scientific approaches in the humanities led to the basis for homesickness as a medical condition accompanied by a standardized physical symptom complex. The invention of nostalgia by the Swiss physiologist Johannes Hofer (Dissertatio medica De Nostalgia, or homesickness, 1688) turned homesickness into a pathological issue, a position that reappears in 1909 in Karl Jaspers’ Homesickness and Crime as a criminalization of abnormal homesickness. With a view on nostalgia, the lecture will deal with both the scientific discourses that attempt to relate homesickness as a physical illness since the 17th century, as well as with the reflex of these non-literary discourses in modern Greek poetry and prose.


Date: November, 28 2017, 18:00
Location: OeAI Athens (Leoforos Alexandras 26, 10683 Athens)