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The Faculty of Humanities will host two visiting researchers in 2019-2020 via the Marilena Laskaridis Visiting Fellowships. The fellowships are sponsored by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, which is also the main sponsor of the Marilena Laskaridis Chair of Modern Greek Studies at the UvA and is held by Prof. Maria Boletsi, and are open to early- and mid-career scholars whose research engages with Modern Greek language, culture and/or history. The visiting research fellows will stay at the Faculty of Humanities for 4 months (two fellows).

Kristina Gedgaudaite (4-month fellowship)

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. As a Laskaridis Visiting Fellow, Kristina will work on a monograph, which will be based on her thesis but also include significantly reworked material.

Pafsanias Karathanasis (4-month fellowship)

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. Since 2016 he has been collaborating as a researcher with the Fast Forward Festival, an Art festival organized by the Onassis’ Cultural Center in Athens, and since 2017 he is the scientific advisor of the Athens Ethnographic Film Festival-Ethnofest.