Sunday, April 17, 2022
Sunday, April 10, 2022
As a historian and a person who eye-witnessed immigrant life you knew better than to simplify immigrant lives. You refused to caricature Greek Americans. You knew that immigrants struggled, worked hard, enjoyed some success, experienced failures. That is why you were impatient with the narrative of struggle and success. Life is not a linear highway leading to the Eldorado of the American Dream. Your perspective, your words, resonate with me deeply. I started my life as a working-class immigrant who achieved some things but failed in others. It is refreshing––viscerally refreshing––to hear you speak about the humanity of Greek Americans. To recognize their limits, their failings; which is to say, their humanity. In this you are in good company with Helen Papanikolas and Harry Mark Petrakis who also eye-witnessed much of twentieth century Greek America and did the same
Sunday, December 5, 2021
For my contribution to the conversation about the bicentenary, I have been discussing a host of narratives which connect the Greek revolution with the making of contemporary Greek identity in relation to historically disenfranchised populations. My initial sample of narratives included both Greece and the diaspora (see my presentation at the Yale conference on the Greek Revolution and the Diaspora here).
But as I turn my talk into a book chapter, and in the interest of space, I focus exclusively on the diaspora component. Still, the section on Greece belongs to the broader problematic of the paper, namely bicentenary narratives which place the making of Greek civic identities in the context of interethnic encounters and in relation to people not historically connected with the revolution.
I am sharing this component here:
Sunday, November 7, 2021
«Το βιβλίο "Εθνοτικές γεωγραφίες" αποτελεί καρπό έρευνας, συγγραφής και επανασυγγραφής μίας δεκαπενταετίας. Τα επιμέρους κεφάλαια επικεντρώνονται κατά κύριο λόγο στην πρόσληψη και κατανόηση της ταυτότητας που οι Έλληνες μετανάστες στις ΗΠΑ και οι απόγονοι τους προβάλλουν στα κείμενα τους. Ο συγγραφέας εξετάζει λογοτεχνικά, ιστορικά, ανθρωπολογικά και κινηματογραφικά έργα, αναλύει γνωστά και καθιερωμένα από την κριτική κείμενα όπως το "Αμέρικα-Αμέρικα" του Kazan ή την "Ελένη" του Gage, αλλά και ανασύρει από τη λήθη άγνωστες μορφές του ελληνισμού της Αμερικής που σημάδεψαν την εποχή τους όπως η δημοσιογράφος Δήμητρα Βακά».
Εθνοτικές γεωγραφίες is often cited in theoretically-oriented publications in Greek. It asks hard questions about Greek American institutions, and engages critically with canonical texts. But as far as I can tell, it has not been reviewed in U.S. journals specializing in Greek America and diaspora. I cannot help but wonder why.
Monday, November 1, 2021
The story of the poem “Epitaphios” starts with a newspaper photograph depicting a mother lamenting over the body of her dead son, killed during a peaceful protest by tobacco workers, in May 1936, in Thessaloniki. The victim was one among a total of twelve dead workers in a strike “drowned in blood by the dictatorial government” at the time.
Sunday, June 27, 2021
From the Point of View of College Students: What is a subject worth the attention of Greek American studies? [Food, connections with cultural identity, Greek Orthodoxy, and Greece]
"When thinking about important topics to study under the realm of Greek America, one that is significant to me is the study of the Greek food in America, particularly how it is a way for Americanized and later generations of Greek Americans to retain aspects of their culture as well as their religion. As a 3rd generation Greek American, food is the most common way I connect with the culture of my mother and grandparents. My yiayia makes delicious dishes, heavily influenced by the food she ate growing up and the food made by other Greek Americans she is friends with. She attempts to pass on her recipes to her children and grandchildren, but this is sometimes difficult because “a cup of flour” to her is flour filled to the brim of her favorite mug. Nevertheless, eating and enjoying these dishes brings us together and makes us feel Greek without being in Greece. This topic is an important one to study because, just like it is for me, for many it is a way to connect with the culture of their ancestors in a country across the ocean. It would be interesting to study how food connects later-generation Greek Americans to their heritage.
Lastly, a question I would ask you in particular is what are the best ways that later generation Greek Americans can keep aspects of their Greek culture? Since I am half Greek and a second-generation American, how can my future children stay connected to this culture that will only be a sliver of their heritage?"
[My note: Given the centrality of Greek food in Greek American family, social and public life, it is astonishing––isn't it––that there is no systematic scholarship on food cultures in Greek America]
Saturday, June 26, 2021
From the Point of View of College Students: What is a subject worth the attention of Greek American studies (Redefining Greek American identity among the youth, intergenerational cultural distance)
Something that fascinated me is how the younger Greek Americans are redefining their identity nowadays. I think the older generations are noticing a change or general trend of perhaps different priorities or emphasis on other aspects of Greek culture than what they would like. I have been noticing in the Greek community, in St. Louis (my hometown), that the older generations are expecting a lot more from the younger generation Greek Americans as far as the language and religion aspect of being Greek. However, I don’t think the youth has fully embraced their Greek heritage as their grandparents or older generations would want. I think this tension can cause distance between these generations which I have seen with my peers personally. Thus, it would be important to explore how young Greek Americans are defining being a Greek American in today’s society. I personally think this may help the two points of view understand each other better and may show which direction Greek Americans are headed as far as preserving Hellenism in the future. Some specific questions would be what do the youth want to take away from their Greek American community socially and religiously? How do they plan to (if they want to) maintain their Greek background? I also wonder how Greek Americans connect with other Greek Americans whether this is through the Greek community or in school/college. It would also be interesting to find out what specific Greek traditions they will continue if they had any growing up in their household. I feel like as if right now there may not be a general consensus for these questions, but it's still worth it to explore.