Καλώς ορίσατε (Welcome)!
The Pelion Summer Lab for Cultural Theory and Experimental Humanities (PSL) is an initiative of the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology and the Laboratory of Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly in Volos, Greece. PSL 2020 is supported by the Netherlands Institute at Athens.
The aim of this 10-day program is to convene an interdisciplinary group of graduate students, advanced undergraduates, academics and cultural producers from fields such as anthropology, history, sociology, arts, philosophy, gender studies, literary and cultural studies, and digital and new media studies for a period of intensive and provocative exchange regarding the pressing problems and questions of our research and our worlds.
So far, we have conducted 3 successful summer labs attracting stellar faculty and participants from around the world (and, of course, around Greece), gradually -- but steadily -- building up global networks of collaboration and friendship. You can find details about the “works and days” of each PSL in the Archive and, of course, more informally on our Facebook page, but, in brief, the themes were the following:
- 2019 Data & Power (held in Makrinitsa) examined how the production, tracking, mining, manipulation, sorting and categorization of data through algorithmic procedures has emerged as an increasingly dominant mode of political regulation, capitalist exploitation, identity formation, cultural expression and knowledge generation. The public experiment produced by the participants was a “serious game” about the dataification of everyday life—as well as the perniciousness of “gamification” as a central mechanism of platform capitalism.
- 2018 Liminal Lives & Para-Sites (held in Chania) examined the politics of monstrosity, necropolitics, affective states, the fluidity of identity, the experience of exile, acts of care, sites of refuge and exile through Frankenstein, the paradigmatic “experimental” novel-- in both theme and form. Through our close, collective reading we also took part in global bicentennial celebrations of Mary Shelley’s novel. The public experiment created by the participants was an “escape room” that centered on the above themes, with special reference to the ruined Sanatorium in Chania.
- 2017 Democracy & Dissent (held in Paou and Horto) focused on contemporary forms of sovereignty and dissent that have posited democracy as ideal -- or alibi -- and examined modes of dissent to authoritarian regimes, fascist xenophobia and neoliberal austerity, from (under)commons to assemblies and contemporary social movements. PSL 2017 also featured an international symposium on “Democracy and Dissent around the Globe,” which presented ethnographic cases from South Africa to Turkey, while participants developed their own proposals for creative critical interventions in these struggles.
In 2020, we plan to return to the cosmopolitan village of Makrinitsa, with its romantic restaurants, cafés and bars, architectural gems and, of course, touristic kitsch. Always cool in the summer, Makrinitsa constitutes a kind of mountain balcony, offering majestic vistas over the Pagasetic Gulf, easy to access the city of Volos and a great base for exploring Pelion's beaches and villages. Admittedly, Makrinitsa is not an 'undiscovered village' -- but there is a reason for that!
We are already busy planning the 4th iteration of PSL and plan to announce details about the theme, the faculty and the ‘experiment’ early in the new year.
One thing we can tell you now, though, is that PSL 2020 will be held from Monday, June 29th until Thursday, July 9th. This year’s lab also will launch with an international conference, open to the general public, to be held the weekend of June 26-27-28. Needless to say, the PSL 2017/18/19 reunion will also take place during this time period.
So, mark your calendars! We’re looking forward to doing it all again (really :).
The organizing committee:
Penelope Papailias, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, Dept. of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly (Director)
Petros Petridis, Ph.D., Lecturer, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Pantelis Probonas, Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly
George Mantzios, Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Toronto
Alexandros Papageorgiou, Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly
Christina Mitsopoulou, Ph.D., Classical Archaeology, Laboratory Teaching Staff, Dept. of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly