Greece in Crisis: The Cultural Politics of Austerity

We are please to announce a new book edited by Professor Dimitris Tziovas, Professor of Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham. It will be published by I.B. Tauris in July 2017.

The publisher’s description

Since 2010 Greece has been experiencing the longest period of austerity and economic downturn in its recent history. Economic changes may be happening more rapidly and be more visible than the cultural effects of the crisis which are likely to take longer to become visible, however in recent times, both at home and abroad, the Greek arts scene has been discussed mainly in terms of the crisis. While there is no shortage of accounts of Greece’s economic crisis by financial and political analysts, the cultural impact of austerity has yet to be properly addressed.

This book analyses hitherto uncharted cultural aspects of the Greek economic crisis by exploring the connections between austerity and culture. Covering literary, artistic and visual representations of the crisis, it includes a range of chapters focusing on different aspects of the cultural politics of austerity such as the uses of history and archaeology, the brain drain and the Greek diaspora, Greek cinema, museums, music festivals, street art and literature as well as manifestations of how the crisis has led Greeks to rethink or question cultural discourses and conceptions of identity.

‘At last a book in English on the Greek crisis that goes beyond the narrowly economic. These essays conjure up recent Greek experience reflected in its music, street art, fiction, museums, rural life and many other aspects’.

– Professor Robert Holland, Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London

Special Offer Price £44.80 RRP £64.00*
Hardback | 304 pages | 216 x 138 mm | 9781784538453 | July 2017
Offer expires 30th December 2017

To order online go to and enter the discount code AN2 when prompted.

Workshop 3: Greece In Crisis: Culture/Identity/ Politics

A mural close to Omoneia Square, comissioned by the municipality and realised by students of the Athens School of fine Arts, shows the famous hands by Albrecht Dürer pointing down towards the city Photo: Julia Tulke/

University of Oxford, Thursday, 17 March 2016

A one-day colloquium organised with the support of the AHRC as part of the Cultural Politics of the Greek Crisis network project.

Venues: University of Oxford, Taylor institution, room 2 (9.30-18.30) and (for the last lecture) Modern Art Oxford (19.00-20.00)


9.30 – 10.00 Registration & Coffee

10:00 – 11:30 Panel 1: Writing (in) the Crisis

“Not a Diagnosis, but a Symptom”: Contemporary Greek Poetry in Transition
Thodoris Chiotis (Onassis Cultural Foundation, Athens)

Narratives of the Greek Crisis: Books vs. Social Media?
Eleni Papargyriou (King’s College, University of London)

Chair and Response: Dimitris Papanikolaou (University of Oxford)

11:30 – 11:45 Break

11:45-13:15 Panel 2:  Using Cultural Capital

Poems that Warn and Console: Appropriations of C.P.Cavafy at the Dawn of the Greek Financial Crisis
Foteini Dimirouli (University of Oxford)

Pride and Prejudice: Archeopolitics and the Iconology of the Crisis
Dimitris Tziovas (University of Birmingham)

Chair and Response: Maria Margaronis (The Nation and BBC World)

13:15-14:15 Lunch

14:15-15:45 Panel 3:  Crisis in the Frame

Representing the Greek Depression: The Photography of Crisis
Penelope Petsini (Independent scholar and critic, Athens)

Depicting the Pain of Others: Photography, Refugees and the Ethics of Seeing in the Aegean Shores
George Giannakopoulos (Queen Mary, University of London)

Chair and Response: Catriona Kelly (University of Oxford)

15:45 – 16:00 Break

16:00-17:30 Panel 4:  Citizenship, Networks, Publics

Philanthropy or Solidarity? Ethical Dilemmas about Humanitarian Action in Times of Austerity
Dimitrios Theodossopoulos (University of Kent)

Turning Infrastructures on their Head
Dimitris Dalakoglou (VU University, Amsterdam)

Chair and Response: Elizabeth Kirtsoglou (University of Durham)

17:30-18:30 Round-Table Discussion followed by Wine Reception

19.00 Plenary Lecture

What’s important: Art and Politics
Adam Szymzyck (curator of documenta 14, Kassel/Athens 2017)
Public lecture to take place in Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, OX1 1BP
The plenary lecture is FREE but registration is required
The plenary will also be live-streamed via


Attendance is free. All welcome.

This workshop is part of a two-year research network funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). 

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


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 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.