In the fall of 1922, the Columbia Spectator published a handful of articles announcing the anticipated arrival of two students, refugees from Smyrna who had received scholarships to study at Teachers College. Hope for Things Elsewhere is a quest to discover their identities and trace the details of their journey from the collapsing Ottoman Empire to New York. Through archival research at Ellis Island, Teacher’s College, and the Near East Relief Foundation, this online exhibition explores who these students were, what the global backdrop of their journey was, and what Columbia’s campus was like on the eve of their arrival. It features photographs, music, advertisements, and newspaper articles from the period as well as a podcast in which current Columbia students examine the cultural and political landscape of Morningside Heights in 1922. The quest to discover the identity of the two students opens up onto a broader examination of the emigration and settlement of former Ottoman in the U.S., the New York elite’s interest in humanitarian aid to the Near East, and Columbia’s global outreach politics.
The exhibition was curated by Pablo Drake, Karina Feng, Billy Kanellopoulos, and Madeleine Nephew in the context of the SNFPHI-designed course “Public Hellenism.”