The Marilena Laskaridis Visiting Fellowships were created in 2019 with the support of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation. Since then, three or two researchers have annually been awarded the fellowship.
Alexander Kazamias: Sound National Convictions: Anticommunist discourse and propaganda in post-war Greece, 1944-74
This project investigates the intellectual history of anticommunism in Greece from the Civil War of the 1940s to the fall of the Military Dictatorship in 1974. Using a variety of textual and visual sources (pamphlets, speeches, government papers, radio broadcasts, schoolbooks, posters, and newsreels) it examines how state anticommunism shaped post-war Greek culture and politics through a combination of public order policies, official propaganda, and covert politicization of the education system. Emphasis is placed on locating post-war Greek history in the context of the Cold War and unveiling the internal sociocultural divisions and emotional regimes of fear generated by anticommunism, including its suspensory effects on the country’s modernization and democratization. The study is set in a comparative perspective, drawing parallels and contrasts with other varieties of anticommunism in Western Europe and North America.
Alexander Kazamias held the Fellowship while being Senior Lecturer and Course Director in Politics at Coventry University. He is the author of Greece and the Cold War: Diplomacy, Rivalry and Anti-Colonialism after the Civil Conflict. He has written extensively on modern Greek history and politics, Greek-Turkish relations, and the history and politics of Egypt.
Dimitris Soudias: Towards a cultural economy of uncertainty: creativity and entrepreneurialism in Athens and Berlin
”You have to be creative. Because you don’t know what tomorrow will be like. But I cannot be creative because of the stress,” a young Athenian entrepreneur told me. My project picks up on this anecdotal cue to investigate how social entrepreneurs in Athens and Berlin imagine and confront uncertainty and the future, and the role of “creativity” in this regard. Against the backdrop of austerity and COVID-19, the Social Economy sector is seen as central by policy-makers to address and mitigate the impacts of these crises on the economy and society (OECD, 2020). Here, social entrepreneurs play an analytically puzzling role: they are profiting from the deregulation of previously state-held responsibilities of social protection by managing social provision. Simultaneously, they are themselves subject to uncertainty and in need of protection. The Laskaridis Fellowship allows me to develop this project to full grant application maturity, in order to scrutinize the ways in which entrepreneurial imaginaries of the future and uncertainty are changing in pandemic times.
Dimitris Soudias held the Fellowship as HBA Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Economics. In his doctoral dissertation (Philipps-Universität Marburg, 2019), he investigated the formation of political subjectivity against the backdrop of crisis and austerity in Greece.
Nikolas Kakkoufa: ‘Word is the flesh’: The Homosexual Body in the Work of Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, and C.P. Cavafy
This project seeks to develop a transatlantic and interdisciplinary model for studying the way the queer body is constructed in the work of three major writers: Walt Whitman (1819-1892), Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), and C. P. Cavafy (1863-1933). Through a comparative reading of works by these three authors, the project traces not only what seem to be continuities within the history of queer writing but also ruptures, as they materialize in these writers’ work. It also examines whether the shift in discourse from sexuality as act to sexuality as identity limits the ways in which the homosexual body itself is allowed to perform in their writings. An analysis of the work of these three writers against a Greek background reveals how the complexity of Cavafy’s example might function as a model for understanding cultural explorations of the queer body not only in modern Greece but also in authors from neighboring geographical areas that Cavafy has influenced with his work.
Nikolas P. Kakkoufa (PhD, King’s College London 2015) held the Fellowship while being Lecturer in Modern Greek at the Department of Classics, the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Program in Hellenic Studies, and an Affiliate Faculty at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Columbia University, New York. His courses range from beginners to advanced classes in language and culture and seminars on literature and sexuality. His research projects focus on queer theory, on the image of the city in literature, and on the use of literature and translation pedagogy in second language acquisition.
Despina Lalaki: Digging for Democracy in Greece: Intra-Civilizational Processes During the American Century
This book project investigates the American role in the formulation of Modern Greek cultural and political identities. To this effect, Digging for Democracy focuses on the field of archaeology as a privileged place in the history of the Greek nation-state and Western civilization at large and central nod in a complex network of trans-national institutional and intellectual relations. The book argues that American policies of economic liberalism and capitalist democracy invested symbolically in Hellenism – this complex relationship between Western modernity and Greek antiquity – radically transforming it in the process. Once employed as a critique of the effects of modern civilization – primarily informed by German visions of self-improvement, disinterested Wissenschaft and cultural reform – Hellenism became an expression of instrumental rationality, cultural commodification, and liberal capitalist democracy. The book aims to deepen our knowledge on the relationship between the two polities, Greece and the United States, placing emphasis on intellectuals and cultural experts, socio-political elites, the role of philanthropic, not-for-profit organizations, and various cultural and educational programs. A sociology of archaeology and an archaeology of the Greek state, the study follows in the tradition of historical sociology, conducting large-scale comparative historical analysis over a long-time span while trying to identify important moments of historical change that affect social structures. To this day, the project maintains, “the cradle of democracy” conditions our cultural dispositions and political imagination. The inability to perceive alternative modes of political and social organization is intrinsically connected with identities which are far from immanent or as primordial as they appear.
Despina Lalaki is a sociologist who works in the areas of historical and cultural sociology, social theory, American and Modern Greek Studies. She is particularly interested in long-term social and cultural changes, changing modes of consciousness, the ideological and cultural foundations of the state and the role of intellectuals. At the New School University she completed her Ph.D. in Sociology while she has also studied History of Art and Architecture at SUNY-Binghamton University (M.A.) and Archaeology and Art History at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece (B.A.). Her publications include several articles in collective volumes and peer-reviewed journals while she often writes for non-academic audiences.
Emilia Salvanou: Social movements and memory: the case of the Greek Sixties
How does memory fuel social movements and how does it contribute to the shaping of visions of the future? The question lately occupies the attention of scholars, who have expanded their interest from the issue of memory of social movements to that of memory in social movements. My research project will explore the interrelation between memory and social movements in the case of the Greek Sixties, focusing on the early period that preceded the dictatorship of 1967. More specifically, it will explore how the contentious politics of the period were based on the strands of cultural and memory activism. Moreover, it will explore the interrelation between the national and transnational aspects of the movement and trace how the intersection of the national and the transnational, of the political and the cultural, of the past and the envisaged future, contributed to the gradual overcoming of the post-civil war truth regime and the emergence of a new historical culture that was in accordance with a more inclusive and democratic society. Although in the case of Greece memory had a special gravity in the post-war condition because of the Civil War that followed the end of the Occupation, memory regimes were renegotiated more or less across the social movements of the Sixties, both as part of closing open deals with “their own” national past, and as part of the shaping of a new global mental map that would be in accordance with the revolutionary future that the movements’ aspired in a transnational scale. In this sense, the research on Greece falls into the intersection of various research fields, such as memory and historical culture studies, social movements’ studies, the study of the global sixties, and that of the New Cold War History.
Emilia Salvanou studied History at the University of Athens, obtained her PhD from the University of Aegean (2006), and completed her post-doctoral thesis at the University of Athens (2012). She has participated in various research projects with national and European funding and has lectured on Greek History (University of Thessaloniki), European History, and Public History (Hellenic Open University). She has published extensively in journals and edited volumes on topics of contemporary history, migration and refugeehood, memory, public history, and historical culture.
Kristina Gedgaudaite: Smyrna in your Pocket: Memory of Asia Minor in Contemporary Greek Culture
This project turns to a watershed in the history of modern Greece – its defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and the population exchange that followed – as remembered in present-day Greece. On the one hand, it describes how family memories find their way into cultural representations and provide a language as well as a form for other reminiscences. On the other hand, it aims to show how those cultural representations participate in wider transformations that occur in the public sphere. Methodological tools developed in the field of cultural memory studies are coupled with insights drawn from history, psychology and anthropology. Within this interdisciplinary framework, the memory of Asia Minor emerges as reflective of present-day ideologies and responsive to contemporary concerns.
Kristina Gedgaudaite completed her doctorate thesis at the University of Oxford, where she worked on the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and the exchange of the Greek-Turkish populations in 1923. Through a number of case studies and different media — including history textbook, documentary film, graphic novel and theatre performance — she discussed how memories of these events are transmitted at the time when witnesses remain a few. Her general research interests fall within the fields of cultural memory and refugee studies.
Pafsanias Karathanasis: Prolonged crisis and permanent liminality: A study of the relations between Greece and Cyprus through shared experiences of sociopolitical crisis
In this project, the various sociopolitical and cultural interconnections between Greece and Cyprus are examined, with a particular focus on how relations between Greeks and Greek-Cypriots are shaped, transformed and negotiated through recent experiences of “crisis.” Building on fieldwork conducted in Nicosia, the divided Cypriot capital, the project explores a paradox in the relationship between Greece and Cyprus. While it is believed by the majority of both Greeks and Greek-Cypriots that they share the same nationality, they do not share the same citizenship. However, Greece has historically been understood by Greek-Cypriots as the “motherland”, as Turkey has been for Turkish-Cypriots. This metaphor has created a cultural imbalance between Cyprus and its “motherlands”. However, while in north Cyprus (the unrecognized “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”) Turkey’s cultural, political and military hegemony is obvious, in south Cyprus (the Republic of Cyprus) the idea of Greece as culturally superior is alive in more subtle ways. The goal of the project is to examine the extent to which lived experiences and the changes that the “crisis” brings to the livelihoods of people have transformed the ways Greeks see Greek-Cypriots, and vice versa.
Pafsanias Karathanasis is a social anthropologist. He holds a BA in social anthropology from Panteion University in Athens, an MA in Material and Visual Culture from University College London, and a PhD in historical and social anthropology from the University of the Aegean in Greece. His research interests include anthropology of space and place, visual culture and political anthropology, while he is specifically interested in urban cultures, grassroots initiatives, and contested landscapes in cities. He has done research on urban practices such as street art and political activism, and he has worked with political and artistic grassroots initiatives in Athens and Nicosia.