A view from the Acropolis

Post by Joseph Hall, Lecturer in Human Geography

IMG_1389_Greece Nov 2015We have just come back from a fantastic field trip to Greece with our first year Geography and Environmental Science students.

As part of the trip we spend a day in Athens exploring contested histories and representations at the Acropolis site and in the Acropolis museum. Students were tasked with thinking about how the Acropolis site is being excavated, preserved and represented to tourists by thinking about which histories are being memorialised and which are being erased and forgotten.
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In the Acropolis museum students develop these understandings by thinking about meanings and values that are attributed to various artefacts, particularly the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles, which are ‘missing’ from the exhibition. These are currently held at the British Museum in London, although where the Parthenon Marbles belong is fiercely contested. Students were asked to consider these debates while thinking about Greek national identity and global citizenship, particularly who can/should be able to access the Parthenon Marbles and where.
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For this ‘taster’ of cultural and historical geography students use Participant Observation as a key research method in human geography and evaluate how we can understand the world and visitor interaction at the Acropolis site, in particular, through this methodological approach.

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