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Research at St Andrews

Eleni Kefala


Eleni Kefala
Postal address:
School of Modern Languages
St Salvators Quadrangle
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463655

Research overview

Research overview

Eleni's research offers critical and cultural analyses of modernity across a range of periods, cultures, and disciplines and has taken the form of monographs (two published, one forthcoming, and another close to completion), one edited volume, and over a dozen refereed articles, among others. She enjoys adopting novel interdisciplinary approaches by bringing together literature, photography, film, painting, and critical and cultural theory, as well as exploring new comparative avenues in transcultural projects on Nahuatl and post-Byzantine poetry, twentieth-century Argentine and Greek cultures, and Pre-Columbian and Byzantine civilizations. She equally enjoys challenging established perspectives on canonical authors like Jorge Luis Borges and questioning entrenched views, such as reiterations of colonial narratives in postcolonial/decolonial studies, by working at the intersection of intellectual history, history of science, sociology, and ecology. 

Her latest monograph The Conquered: Byzantium and America on the Cusp of Modernity inaugurated the Dumbarton Oaks series "Extravagantes" (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2020), while her third monograph Five and One Theses on Modernity: Buenos Aires Across the Arts, 1921-1939 is forthcoming with The University of Pittsburgh Press in the series "Pitt Illuminations: Cultural Formations of the Americas" (2021). 

The Conquered rehistoricizes the conquests of the Byzantine and Mexica Empires, and their role in modernity’s self-imagining by probing collective memory and cultural trauma in laments (threnoi and icnocuicatl) for the fall of Constantinople and Tenochtitlan, composed soon after the conquest of the imperial cities in 1453 and 1521. Listen to the “New Books Network” podcast episode – Ethan Besser Fredrick speaking with Eleni Kefala about The Conquered:

Eleni's AHRC-funded monograph Five and One Theses on Modernity, which is the product of a decade-long project on Argentine modernity, provides the first systematic, interdisciplinary study of urban space in Argentina in the 1920s-1930s from the vantage point of the visual arts (painting, photography, silent film), and literature (poetry, novel).

Eleni’s earlier published work includes an edited volume on cultural identity in Spanish America since 1492 (2011) and a comparative monograph on crosscurrents in Argentine and Greek literary modernisms, never before studied together (2007). She has published extensively in professional journals, translated poetry and short stories from the Spanish and English, and authored two poetry books.

Her debut poetry collection Memory and Variations (Mními kai parallayés, 2007) was shortlisted for the prestigious Diavázo Literary Awards in Greece (First Book Award), while her second book Time Stitches (Chronorraphía, 2013) received the State Prize for Poetry in Cyprus. She has presented her work in international literary festivals and been translated into French, Italian, Turkish, Bulgarian, and English. For more on her poetry, see World Literature Today 92.1 (2018).

Eleni contributes to all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the Department of Spanish and the School of Modern Languages. She offers classes on a range of disciplines (literature, photography, painting, film), national literatures (Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay, Chile), and genres (poetry, short story, novel, essay).


Visit Eleni's page on



Dumbarton Oaks Interview - "The World Upside Down" 

International Poetry Festival Voix Vives 2015 

State Prize for Poetry 2014

Presentation of "Time-stitchings" at Ianos Bookstore



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