David Idol is a Ph.D. candidate in Modern European History at the University of California, San Diego, focusing on Modern Greek history, environmental history, and social history. At Loyola Marymount University, he teaches a course on Modern Greek history, culture, and society.
University of California, San Diego: C. Phil., Modern European History
New York University: M.A., European and Mediterranean Studies 2009
New York University: B.A., History 2008
Areas of Expertise (3)
Greece and the Modern World: From Revolution to Refugee Crisis
This course is an introduction to the history, culture, and society of Modern Greece in the context of European and world history. Combining several disciplines and approaches (including anthropology, political science, film, and literature) students examine the crises and challenges that have shaped modern Greek society.
In the 1880s, a company was formed in France for the purpose of draining Lake Kopaïs—a large, natural lake in Central Greece. This was the largest water management project yet undertaken in the country, made possible by recent advances in engineering and technology, and it ushered in a century of similarly ambitious projects. Draining the lake fundamentally altered the environment of the region, but it did not create new agricultural land out of wasteland as the project’s backers maintained; instead, it transformed one type of productive land into another type, and the resulting dislocations were felt in the region for years to come. As revealed in the records of the French company and the British company that succeeded it, as well as in contemporary news reports, legal documents, and government records, this transformation created conflicts between those who sought to protect their traditional land use rights and those who sought to use the land for capitalist agriculture. These conflicts lasted for decades, and they were fought in parliament, in the courtroom, and occasionally in the countryside with violence.