Dr. Polyvia Parara is a native of Athens, Greece, and she received a B.A. from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Philosophy with a major in History and a M.A. and PhD from the University of Paris X-Nanterre, France. At the University of Maryland, she teaches all levels of Modern Greek Language as well as Modern Greek Literature and History. Before coming to the University of Maryland, she taught courses on Classics and Modern Greek Language, History, and Literature for nine years at Georgetown University as Visiting Assistant Professor of Greek Language and Civilization. Dr. Parara’s research fields are Ancient Greek poetry and politics, Classical Past, and Modern Greek identity, as well as Teaching Modern Greek as a Second Language.
She has published a book on the political aspect of Aeschylus’s tragedies entitled La Dimension Politique des Tragédies d’Eschyle, ADRA-Nancy, De Boccard, Paris, 2010 (ISBN-13: 978-2-913667-26-0); an article on “The Institution of Kingship in Aeschylus’s Tragedy: Terminology and Historicity” Actes du Colloque sur la Royauté, KTEMA Strasburg, 2015; and reviews of Nikos Birgalias’s “From the Social to the Political Majority. Isonomia and Political Changes in the Ancient World 550-479 BC,” Athens, Patakis, 2008, Revue des Etudes Anciennes, tome 113, 2011, no 1, p.226-228; and of Rolf Hesse’s “Syntax of the Modern Greek Verbal System,” Geolinguistics 30 (2004): 225-229.
Dr. Parara is currently working on a newly discovered primary source entitled “Classical Bouquet,” a rare volume composed by a learned Cretan in 1855; on April 2, 2016, Dr. Polyvia Parara co-organized a one day conference on the “The International Context of the Greek World in the 19th Century: Klassiki Anthodesmi, a 'Classical Bouquet'" with Prof. Lillian Doherty of the Classics Department and Dr. Alexander Nagel of the Smithsonian Institute. Her paper was on “Elisavet Contaxaki, a Learned Cretan and her Classical Bouquet: Literature and Politics.”
Dr. Parara teaches a wide range of courses at the University of Maryland: GREK 111,112 (Elementary Modern Greek); GREK 211, 212 (Intermediate Modern Greek); GREK 398,399 (Advanced Modern Greek Language and Culture); GREK 411 (Modern Greek Literature and History); as well as GREK 499 (Independent Study on Greek Language on “Cavafy and the Greek World”) and “Classical Past and Modern Greek Identity.” Dr. Parara has also taught a wide range of courses at Georgetown, including CLSS 262 (Greek Tragedy and Politics); CLSS 264 (Political Thought and the Formation of the Polis); GREE 355 (Modern Greek History); GREE 330 (Modern Greek History through Literature); all levels of Modern Greek Language; and CLSS 103 (Learning Modern Greek from Ancient Greek), a piloting course addressed to students who have basic knowledge of Ancient Greek. She presented the pedagogical and methodological approaches of this course and its results at the Biennial workshop on Modern Greek Language Instruction at San Francisco State University in 2012.
Dr. Parara has presented papers on the teaching of Modern Greek as a second or foreign language in national and international conferences. Furthermore, in February 2014, she presented a paper on “The Institution of Kingship in Aeschylus’s Tragedies: Terminology and Historicity” at the international conference on “The Institution of Kingship in Antiquity,” organized by the National University of Athens in Greece. Last November, she presented a paper on “The Sociopolitical Factors of the Delinquency in the Folk Culture: From the Klephtik Demotic Songs to the Greek Shadow Theater of Karagioz” in the 1st International Conference on “Greek Shadow Theatre- Non tangible Culture,” co-organized by the University of Granada Spain and the National University of Athens. This upcoming Fall, Dr. Parara will present a paper on “The Journey of Elisavet Contaxaki’s Classical Bouquet from Crete to Washington D.C.: Historical and Political Context” in the 12th International Congress on Cretan Studies in Herakleion, Crete.
Since 2013, she participates in Sunoikisis course development seminars in Greek Lyric Poetry, and on Comedy, Plato, and the Odyssey. Sunoikisis is a national consortium of Classics programs. The Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University provides the administrative and technological support. The Sunoikisis faculty engages in seminars to develop these courses. The cycle of Sunoikisis inter-institutional, team-taught literature courses makes creative use of technology to connect institutions.
Furthermore, Dr. Polyvia Parara offers seminars and workshops for the teachers of the Greek schools in the Metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. on subjects pertaining to teaching methodology and pedagogy.
Before coming to the U.S., Dr. Parara also distinguished herself as a champion basketball player. She won the gold medal with the National University of Athens basketball team three times, and she was a player of the first national category basketball club AO PAGRATI and FIBA Europe player. She has volunteered as Board Member of the Hellenic Society Prometheas, a nonprofit organization founded as an organized means of promoting the pursuit of common cultural and social goals among Greek Americans of the Metropolitan Washington area.