The International Cavafy Summer School is an annual scholarly initiative of the Cavafy Archive and the Onassis Foundation, focused on Cavafy, his work, and his archive while aiming to explore his poetry’s impact in the world from new cultural and academic perspectives.
Since its inauguration in 2017, the International Cavafy Summer School has aimed to enrich and strengthen participants’ knowledge of Cavafy’s poetry and to encourage future research collaborations between junior and senior scholars from diverse disciplines. Themes explored in previous Summer Schools have been “Cavafy in the World,” “Cavafy and Antiquity,” “Cavafy’s Orient/ations,” “Cavafy Mediated,” and “Cavafy across the Disciplines and the Arts.” The theme for the 2024 Summer School will be “Cavafy, Theater, and Performativity.”
The 2024 Summer School invites proposals on the theatricality and the mise-en-scène potential of many Cavafy’s poems, who himself was an avid theatergoer. Cavafy infused his poems with a profound sense of the stage and of performance. His feeling for action and gesture, his calibrating of plot twists and reversals, and his elliptic, laconic treatment of some subjects are deeply theatrical. Moreover, Cavafy’s theatricality is inextricably linked to the way in which his poetry foregrounds the performativity of language, a subject that is also of interest to this year’s school. As a performative force of poiesis, Cavafy’s poetic language does not seek to record memories or represent past events and characters, but to present them by bringing them forth in the poetic present. Yet Cavafy also realized that language’s performative, cosmopoetic force is not without restrictions. His poetry thus explores the conditions under which language conjures up the past and produces subjects, queer identities, conflicting social worlds, and alternative temporalities through and against established histories, normative expectations, social laws, and prohibitions. In this context, the International Cavafy Summer School 2024 welcomes proposals that explore the multiple connections of Cavafy’s work with theater, theatricality, and the performativity of language or images. We also welcome proposals related―but not limited to―Cavafy’s own relationship with theater, the multiple identities constructed in his work, and the reception of both the poet’s work and his life as theater/performance.
The International Cavafy Summer School 2024 will be led by Maria Boletsi (University of Amsterdam/ University of Leiden) and Gonda Van Steen (King’s College London) and will take place in the center of Athens. Among the invited scholars who will hold seminars and act as mentors, offering feedback and responding to participants’ presentations, are Fotini Dimirouli (University of Oxford), Eleftheria Ioannidou (University of Groningen), Nikolas Kakkoufa (Columbia University), Vayos Liapis (Open University of Cyprus), and Maria Oikonomou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).
The 2024 Summer School will involve twelve participants meeting for six days of morning and afternoon sessions (July 1–6). Seminars offered by the invited scholars will be followed by short research presentations given by the participants. It is expected that all seminar participants attend every session and actively participate in creative discussions with other attendees, workshop leaders, and guest speakers. This format is designed to encourage engaging and stimulating exchanges throughout the week of the summer school and beyond. Additional events, including cultural visits and special presentations, might be scheduled during the week.
The working language of the International Cavafy Summer School will be English. Knowledge of Modern Greek is not a requirement, though a measure of familiarity with Cavafy’s work is a prerequisite. This year’s Cavafy Summer School is particularly suitable for participants from a wide range of fields, including, but not limited to, Modern Greek Studies, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, History, Music, Cinema Studies, Art History, Education, World Literature, and Theater and Performance Studies.
Thanks to the generous support of the Onassis Foundation and the Cavafy Archive, the International Cavafy Summer School will cover all room and board expenses for its participants. In addition, all tuition charges and other fees will be waived. Participants may also apply for grants to cover their travel expenses in whole or in part.
Ph.D. candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scholars working in relevant fields are invited to apply to the 2024 International Cavafy Summer School. In exceptional circumstances, one or two graduate students at the Master’s level may also be accepted on merit of their academic preparation for and interest in the theme of the Summer School.
Applicants are asked to submit:
a) a cover letter that includes a brief outline of their current research and their motivation for participating in the International Summer School (max. 500 words);
b) a description of the particular topic (abstract) they would like to develop in a 20-minute presentation during the International Summer School (max. 500 words);
c) a detailed c.v.; and
d) contact information of an individual who could provide a reference letter in support of their application.
All documents should be submitted in English.
Participants might be photographed and/or recorded, and portions of their presentations and/or discussions may be made public.
The deadline for applications to the International Cavafy Summer School is 30 December 2023.
Successful applicants will be informed by the end of January 2024 and will be asked to submit a 3,000-word draft of their presentation by Friday, April 26, 2024 (no extensions). Failure to submit this draft in a timely manner means forfeiting one’s place in the Summer School.
Candidates who wish to submit an application must create a personal account at the Onassis Directory through the below link, and they can fill in the application and upload the required supporting documents gradually until the deadline for submissions.