Call for papers: Renegotiating History in light of the ‘Greek Crisis’

Photo of Athens graffiti

University of Oxford, Wednesday 16 March 2016

Abstract submission deadline: Sunday 10 January 2016

Contact: mgworkshop2016@gmail.com

Society of Modern Greek Studies and University of Oxford Sub-Faculty of Modern Greek

How has the ‘Greek crisis’ mediated the ways in which Greeks conceive of, negotiate and perform their history- however ancient or recent?

The ‘outbreak’ of the financial and socio-political crisis in Greece in 2008 has been interpreted as the end of the Metapolitefsi period that began with the collapse of the military dictatorship in July 1974. The rise of the neo-Nazi organisation Golden Dawn has been accompanied by an upswing in discourses and politics of racial eugenics, and a revived use (and, most ominously, the exploitation) of the national traumas of the Civil War to articulate political polarizations and civil strife in Greece. Meanwhile, as the death toll of the humanitarian refugee crisis in the Aegean mounts every day, memories of Greek expatriation and of the Asia Minor population exchange are invoked under the slogan “We are all Refugees”. In light of the growth and increased visibility of Muslim communities in Greece, the SYRIZA government promises to build the first mosque in Athens any day now (despite the protestations of the heads of the Greek Orthodox Church). In the meantime, Athens remains the only EU capital without an official place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith.

Following the success of the student-led workshop on diversity in Greek popular culture(s) and media held in Oxford in March 2015, this workshop aims to provide a forum for graduate students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to participate in and contribute to academic discourses on the Greek crisis. The workshop will take place under the auspices of the UK Society for Modern Greek Studies and the sub-faculty of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford, and is organised by a committee of graduate students, for students.

We invite abstracts for papers that will engage with the ways in which the effects of and discourses surrounding the crisis have led Greek politicians, communities, writers, artists, directors (both theatre and film) and bloggers to revisit and refigure notions of what constitutes “Greek history”. Beyond the more sinister examples (like that of Golden Dawn), we are particularly looking to open up a discussion on how the crisis informs Greek identity/ies, history and collective memory in constructive and perhaps, even positive ways. In addition, however, we will also be very happy to receive abstracts for papers that will contest the periodization of the crisis as a “rupture” in recent Greek history, and that will rather opt to problematize how corresponding assumptions are projected onto the past.

Potential subjects include (but are not limited to):

  • The invention(s) of the crisis in Greek collective memory as a new era in Greek history
  • Potential disavowals of Greek history in literature, theatrical productions, films and other forms of popular culture informed by the crisis
  • Re-readings of periods, and re-writings (including translations) of texts and plays in light of the socio-political effects and discourses of the crisis in Greece
  • The emergence of new productions, performances and performance art since 2008 that subvert canonical texts, narratives and staging traditions as part of a certain “crisis project”
  • How LGBTQ history and politics become a pressing issue of are revisited in the context of crisis
  • How traditionally disenfranchised communities and individuals have used the crisis as an opportunity to write themselves into and participate in re-imaginings of the the Greek past
  • The creation of new virtual communities through online and social media platforms, based around historical periods and identities related to the past
  • The contestation of any of the above, to show how renegotiations of the past associated with the crisis might precede and/or transcend crisis narratives

The student committee invites abstract submissions of up to 350 words sent as email attachments to mgworkshop2016@gmail.com by Sunday 10 January 2016. Please indicate your name, degree title, university, and email address and contact number in the email, and only the paper title in the attachment with the abstract.

Members of the organising committee will assess abstracts by a process of blind peer review, and paper selections will be based on relevance to the workshop theme and possible topics, and the intrinsic interest of proposals. Participants will be notified of the selection of their abstracts by no later than Friday, 22 January  2016.

The workshop will take place at the University of Oxford on Wednesday 16 March 16 2016 (precise location TBC), from 10:00 until (provisionally) 18:00. Panels will run throughout the day, which will conclude with a roundtable session where all participants will come together to discuss the workshop themes and new avenues for research regarding the intersections between Modern Greek Studies, history and the crisis. Please bear in mind that paper presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Graduate students from all backgrounds and disciplines are encouraged to submit an abstract. We hope that like last year, this workshop will bring together students from a range of backgrounds and disciplines and will provide a basis to broaden a network of young researchers working on subjects related to modern Greece. Abstracts from visiting graduate students and undergraduates in the final stages of their degrees will also be considered and submitted to the same blind peer review process.

Participants will also be invited to attend the third workshop of an AHRC-funded project series entitled Greece in crisis: cultural politics, identity and othernessthat will take place in Oxford the day after the student-led workshop (Thursday, March 17th 2016). Further details TBC.

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