Vasileios (Vasili) Gounaris
Visiting Fellow, Spring 2024
- AffiliationAristotle University of ThessalonikiResearch Project:Ardent Patriots and Cosmopolitan Gentlemen: Royals Fit for any Nation in Greece and the Balkans (19th & 20th Centuries)
Vasilis Gounaris (Basil C. Gounaris) is Professor of Modern History at the Dept. of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH). He holds a BA in History and an MA in Modern and Medieval I History from AUTH and a DPhil from Oxford University (St Antony’s College) in Modern History. From 1990 to 2001 he was the Director of the Centre for Macedonian History & Documentation in Thessaloniki. He taught Social and Economic History at the Department for Balkan Studies, University of Western Macedonia (2000-5), he was Visiting Professor at King’s College, London (2009-10) and Senior Visiting Scholar at the Onassis Foundation USA (2013). He also served as the Dean of Humanities and member of the Governing Board at the International Hellenic University (Thessaloniki), as full member and as Deputy Chair of the Sectorial Scientific Council (Arts and Humanities) of the National Council for Research and Innovation and as member of the Advisory Committee of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation. He has been member of the editorial board of the Journal of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies and Südost-Forschungen, national representative and elected board vice-chair of the Observatory on History Teaching in Europe (Council of Europe). Two of his monographs have been awarded by the Academy of Athens. In 2019 he won an award of excellence for his contribution to the study of Humanities by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
About the Research Project
Ardent Patriots and Cosmopolitan Gentlemen: Royals Fit for any Nation in Greece and the Balkans (19th & 20th Centuries)
This project delves into a comparative exploration of Greek and Balkan royals, with a particular focus on questioning the role of kings and queens within the context of national identity. In the backdrop of 19th and 20th-century ethnic nationalism, it becomes evident that most monarchs, along with their queens and families linked to non-Orthodox European royal houses, were perceived as outsiders to the Greek and other Balkan nations. Despite their family connections to Europe and their own convictions, they occasionally grappled with alienation, aligning themselves with anti-Western tendencies, politics, and parties. The proposed research aims to uncover how kings articulated their identity and navigated personal transformation processes while shaping their public image. The investigation will scrutinize whether and how their efforts to garner the support of their peasant subjects deviated them from their original mission. Initially tasked with affirming political stability and fostering ties with Europe, they found themselves compelled to present both themselves and their heirs as quintessential patriots. This shift positioned them as potential catalysts for broader changes in domestic and foreign policy, often contrasting with native politicians. To conduct this comparative bottom-up analysis, primary sources such as biographies, royal memoirs, and published correspondence will be utilized. These materials offer valuable insights into how these monarchs defined and presented themselves, shedding light on the complexities of their roles and the impact on the broader political landscape.