Over 200 people gathered to hear Professor Nikos Papastergiadis for the launch of his new book, ‘The Cosmos in Cosmopolitanism,’ at the Greek Centre.

It is rare to see over 200 people on a cold mid-week evening, attend a book launch by a local academic and writer.

“It was very touching to see the room full,” said Prof. Papastergiadis, adding, “It is always a good sign when you need more chairs.”

“As a Greek dad, it was a pleasure to see the food being eaten, the wine drunk, and all the books sold,” he said jokingly.

Papastergiadis wants to reengineer the meaning of cosmopolitanism – a pet subject of his – by examining how ancient philosophers and modern artists relate to the cosmos.

Neos Kosmos asked the thinker why he went back to his ancient past as a Hellene after years at the forefront of theoretical deconstruction.

‘The Cosmos in Cosmopolitanism,’ at the Greek Centre Photo: Supplied

“The blending of old in the new is vital.

“To have a dialogue with civilised people, we must have access to our archives of thought and be open to creating something new as we encounter each other,” Prof. Papastergiadis told Neos Kosmos.

In a chapter from the book published in Neos Kosmos, Papastergiadis writes: ‘After completing my book Cosmopolitanism and Culture [2012], I had the realisation that in my efforts to reimagine the polis, I had taken the cosmos for granted.’

Papastergiadis confessed in his book that the German and French philosophers he admired ‘were all products of an education in which Greek philosophy was like a first language.’

‘In a strange way, the fact that the classics were excised from my education made me feel doubly excluded. I was not alone in this uneasy relationship with the legacy of Hellenism,’ he writes.

The universally recognised academic said that he has shifted recently and now wants to “tell stories grounded in experience”.

Prof Nikos Papastergiadis from one of his many public appearances. Photo: Supplied

“My academic side is not over but, I have more interest in showing how big concepts and imponderable questions are explored in the details of everyday life” said the Professor in Australian Studies, Culture nd Communication at the University of Melbourne.

“The idea of the cosmos is more important than ever today and vital for our attempts to rethink our place as one species among others in a universe that extends far beyond our world,” Prof. Papastergiadis said.

“The books that will come in this next phase will be from the mud and shit but also staring at the dark wells and big skies.

“I am feeling freer as a writer,” said Prof. Papastergiadis