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Erγastirio: Conversations on Greek America

June 18, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Delighted to announce a new initiative!

Erγastirio: Conversations on Greek America
A Collaborative Public Forum

This online forum initiates a series of conversations among academics, authors and cultural producers with the aim of promoting the practice of writing and teaching Greek America in the context of U.S. multiculturalism, the Greek diaspora, and European Americans. We envision a discussion contributing toward a greater understanding of what it means to produce and disseminate knowledge about this subject. We will be reflecting on a variety of topics, including: fostering a critical community; exploring new research directions, including collaborations; placing our research within the academy as well as community publications; understanding ethnic communities from their own perspectives and ways to engage with these points of view in the classroom and public fora. We will be incorporating the interests and questions that the participants will be bringing in the forum.

The initiative is the product of institutional collaboration between the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture, and the Modern Greek Program at The Ohio State University. It will be co-hosted by Yiorgos Anagnostou and Simos Zenios. The meetings will be biannual.

This is a broadly inclusive initiative though the online platform imposes limitations regarding the number of participants. In order to facilitate discussion via Zoom, the number of participants is capped at 30.

Session One: Greek Americans and African Americans
Language: English
Date and Time: June 18 (10:00–12:00 a.m. Pacific Time)

We will commence the series with a conversation about the encounters between African Americans and Greek Americans. This under-researched topic is directing us toward a fascinating prospect in Greek American studies, the exploration of Greek America in connection with other ethnic and racial groups.

Our departure point for the conversation will be two sources:

a) The recent mini documentary, “Between Black and White: Greek-Americans in the 20th century” (https://www.youtube.com/watch…);

Lamprini Thoma, the researcher for this mini-documentary will be joining us in the discussion.

b) The book chapter, “Black Metropolis” by Dan Georgakas (available upon request).

Participants are asked to watch the documentary and do the reading prior to joining.

The session will consist of two parts

Part One (50 minutes): Discussion of the mini-documentary “Between Black and White: Greek-Americans in the 20th century.” Participants are encouraged to reflect on the documentary’s representation of the topic (i.e. its representational strategies, and the meanings it produces). What kind of political work does the documentary’s narrative angle perform? Does the narrative contribute to the anti-racist movement? How? Is it vulnerable to be co-opted against that movement? How so?

We will start with a Q&A with Lamprini Thoma and invite a comparison: what do we gain once we read Georgakas’ chapter in relation to the mini-documentary? In what ways does the former nuance the latter? Also, reflect about the ways that “whiteness” and critical race scholarship could contribute to this discussion.

Part Two (50 minutes): Two researchers who work on Greek American topics in relation to “whiteness” will briefly introduce their respective projects and their significance.

Participants are encouraged to reflect on the following questions: what are the challenges and prospects associated with writing about Greek America in this historic moment, which calls for engagement with anti-racist practices?

Have we done enough as a collective (Greek American authors and scholars) in the last twenty years to engage with questions of racial hierarchies and whiteness? If not, why? If yes, how can we continue this work, and expand?

Hope you will be able to join us! To RSVP please write to Dr. Simos Zenios (szenios@humnet.ucla.edu) and Yiorgos Anagnostou (anagnostou.1@osu.edu) by Friday, June 12.


June 18, 2020
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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