Conference - June 22-23, 2018

Homeland-Diaspora Relations in Flux

Greece and Greeks abroad at times of Crisis

St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

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Presenting paper

Greek Diaspora Citizenship

Greek diaspora’s engagement with the economic crisis in Greece involves more than practices of solidarity, extending to the question of Greek identity. A host of diaspora identity narratives perform a number of social functions. The primary aim of some is to take control of the representations of Greek identity in the context of the global circulation of crude stereotypes in popular and media discourse about the Greeks. Other narratives seek to mobilize collective support for the historical homeland-in-crisis. A close reading of these narratives indicates that the diaspora sees itself as an agent of change in Greek civil society. It seeks to make a difference by embracing ideals such as the rule of law, participatory democracy, gender equity, and philanthropy, all under the rubric of Greek identity.1 Sectors of the Greek diaspora therefore see themselves as diaspora citizen-subjects. I employ the term “citizen-subject” here to denote citizenship as more than legal status and its associated rights. Following scholarship on transnational citizenship,2 I use the concept citizen-subject to refer to values and social practices that underwrite what is meaningful in life, what must be aspired and desired by subjects, and what the self is and must be in order to function as a productive member of society. Given the proliferation of identity narratives on Greek diaspora, a multidisciplinary research project is necessary to understand diaspora citizenship in a variety of sites: workplace, professional settings, education, film, media, literature, and initiatives for the documentation of the diaspora experience among others. My aim in this presentation is to initiate this conversation. First, I will conceptualize the terrain, and elucidate the meaning of key concepts. My overall interest lies in diaspora cultural production (testimonial narratives, novels, visual culture) that contribute in the making of Greek diaspora citizen subjects. I will therefore be interconnecting selective examples from this diaspora discourse with my wider theoretical discussion.

Author bio

Yiorgos Anagnostou is a professor in the Modern Greek Program at The Ohio State University. His research interests include American ethnicities, transnational Greek studies, and Greek America. He has published in a range of scholarly journals across disciplines, including, Melus, Ethnicities, Diaspora, Italian American Review, Journal of American Folklore, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Gramma, The Classical Bulletin, Greek Studies, Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, Journal of Modern Hellenism, Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, and Ergon. The author of Contours of White Ethnicity: Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America (Ohio University Press, 2009), he has also published two poetry collections, Διασπορικές Διαδρομές (Απόπειρα, 2012), and Γλώσσες X Επαφής, Επιστολές εξ Αμερικής (Ενδυμίων, 2016). He is the co-editor of Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters, an open access online journal ( He also writes for the Greek American media, and occasionally blogs about Greek America.
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