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Dr. Michael B. Cosmopoulos
Professor of Archaeology
The Local Inspiration
The initiative to create a professorship in Greek studies came from the Greek-American community in St. Louis. Motivated by a common commitment to preserve the Greek heritage in the United States, 300 individual contributors, the government of Greece and the Karakas Family Foundation pooled their resources to create The Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professorship in Greek Studies.
With the assistance of a community-based advisory committee, the Greek Studies program seeks to promote the study of ancient, Byzantine and modern Greek culture. In accordance with the wishes of the donors to enhance the preservation of the Greek language, history and heritage, the Professorship offers courses in modern Greek language and culture. The program is the first of its kind in Missouri.
Serving Campus and Community
In addition to the teaching and research components of the Greek Studies Professorship, The Karakas Family Foundation Alliance for the Advancement of Hellenic Studies has been established to develop and promote outreach education in Greek studies and culture for the broader community. These programmatic activities include lectures, symposia, concerts and film series. The Alliance annually sponsors a major international conference. According to Nick Karakas, chairman of the Karakas Family Foundation and the Greek Studies Advisory Council, these programs fill a very important void in the understanding and appreciation of the input of the Hellenic civilization into Western thought. They explore, feature and publicize the rich legacy of Hellenic culture and foster the continued interest and development of Hellenism in the St. Louis area, the Midwest and the country at large. For students, the Greek Studies program creates new opportunities to study another language and culture. The Professorship also symbolizes the intentions of UM-St. Louis to become an international university, to internationalize the experiences of its students, and to provide leadership for Missouri and the St. Louis region in preparation of the 21st century.
Dr. Michael B. Cosmopoulos is the Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professor of Greek Studies, International Studies and Programs, University of Missouri-St. Louis. Until August, 2001 he was Professor of Classics and founding Director of the Centre for Hellenic Civilization, the University of Manitoba, in Canada.
He has studied Greek and Roman Archaeology, Ancient History, and Classical Languages at the University of Athens (B.A., summa cum laude), the University of Sorbonne-Paris IV (D.E.U.G.), and Washington University in St. Louis (M.A., Ph.D.). He also holds a Diploma in Underwater Archaeology from the Council of Europe.
His research interests are the social, political, and cultural history of ancient Greece, about which he has published ten books and more than seventy articles and scholarly papers in international journals. He has excavated at several ancient sites in Greece and Ukraine, including Mycenae, Pylos, Epidaurus, Ancient Corinth, Ithaca, Oropos, and Olbia. He has been the director of the new excavations at the famous sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis and is currently directing a new interdisciplinary archaeological project at Iklaina near Pylos. For his research accomplishments he has been awarded the Rh Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scholarship and Research in the Humanities.
His teaching extends beyond the classroom and in the field, where in the last twelve years he has trained more than 500 students in archaeological theory and methodology and in Greek archaeology and history. In Winnipeg, besides the traditional teaching techniques, he has used complementary means of education, such as exhibitions and films. In recognition of his teaching, the University of Manitoba has awarded him a Merit Award for Teaching (1991) and the prestigious Olive Beatrice Stanton Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999). In 2001 he was recommended for the national "Canadian Professor of the Year Award".
He is currently an Academic Trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America; Vice-President of the Archaeological Institute of Canada; member of the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens; and a life member of the Archaeological Society of Athens. Since 1996 he has been included in the Canadian edition of Who is Who.
Dr. Cosmopoulos has worked intensely for the promotion of Greek Studies in Canada. In 1993, in close cooperation with the Consulate General of Greece in Toronto and the Pan-Macedonian Association of Ontario he founded the Pan-Macedonian Association of Manitoba, Inc., of which he served as first president. In 1995 he founded the Centre for Hellenic Civilization of the University of Manitoba, the only university centre in Canada, dedicated to the study of ancient, medieval, and modern Greece. In 1998, in close cooperation with the Greek Embassy in Canada, he organized the Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, of which he currently serves as Coordinator. He has been recommended by the Greek Embassy in Ottawa to receive the Order of Phoenix Decoration by the President of Greece.
Books: Mysteria. The Archaeology of Greek Secret Cults, Routledge, London and New York, in press. The Rural History of Ancient Greek City-States: the Oropos Survey Project, Oxford 2001. The Mycenaean Pottery from Grotta, Naxos Athens 2001. Macedonia. An Introduction to its Political History, Winnipeg 1992. The Early Bronze 2 in the Aegean, Göteborg 1991. Neolithic Anatolia, Athens 1984. Pericles, a Biographical Study, Athens 1979.
Other: More than seventy articles in journals (including Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Prähistorische Zeitschrift, Aegaeum, American Journal of Archaeology, Classical Views, The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration, and Platon) and scholarly papers presented at international and national conferences.