The American School of Classical Studies at Athens and The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park hosted a reception and tribute honoring Barbara Tsakirgis, associate professor of classical and Mediterranean studies and history of art, on Monday evening, October 24, at the Nashville Parthenon.
A leading scholar of Greek art and archaeology and Vanderbilt professor for more than 30 years, Tsakirgis first studied at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens while a graduate student at Princeton. Through the years she has been a dynamic force for ASCSA, serving as a teacher, researcher, and long-standing member of the Managing Committee (vice chair, 2012-2016). She served two terms as an academic trustee of the Archaeological Institute of America and for 26 years headed the Nashville Society of the AIA. She is on the AIA Committee for Archaeology in Higher Education and a board member of the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, where she lectures about the Parthenon to the docents and other groups.
Her broad work on domestic architecture has contributed to a much richer understanding of the complicated interplay between private and public spaces and the experience of individuals, families, and communities in the ancient Mediterranean world. A long-time member of the excavation and research teams at the Hellenistic city of Morgantina in central Sicily and the Athenian Agora, the city center and marketplace of ancient Athens, she has published widely on the elements of Greek houses and households, including the decorated pavements at Morgantina and the remains of the Greek and Roman houses excavated at both sites.
“In the classroom Barbara’s knowledge and eloquence are legendary,” said Joseph Rife, associate professor and founding director of the Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies, “and her classes in classical art and archaeology have long formed a rock-solid foundation for two curricula—Classical Studies and History of Art. It is thanks to Barbara’s masterful teaching that Vanderbilt Classics has come to be recognized for its approach to the Greek and Roman antiquity from the integrated viewpoint of not just language and literature but also objects and landscapes. For Barbara, Sophocles and Plato are much richer with—and much poorer without—the Athenian Acropolis and Agora.”
Photograph of Barbara Tsakirgis in Greece, 2006 (above); photograph taken at the Nashville Parthenon (below): from left to right: George T. Orfanakos, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), Jenifer Neils (Case Western University), Kathleen Lynch (University of Cincinnati), Barbara Tsakirgis and Jerry Spinrad, and Jack Davis (University of Cincinnati). Barbara’s ASCSA colleagues presented her with a framed image of the Statue of Liberty behind a personification of Greece, a poster by an anonymous artist of 1919.