The MGSA Transnational Studies Committee announces its latest update of the Greek American Studies Resource Portal. The new material has been incorporated into the existing resources, see mgsa.org/Resources/port.html
I list the update below for convenient perusal.
Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Kindinger, Evangelia. “‘Only Stones and Stories Remain’: Greek American (Travel) Writing about Greece.” COPAS Vol. 12 (2011).
King, Russell, Anastasia Christou, and Janine Teerling. “‘We Took a Bath with the Chickens’: Memories of Childhood Visits to the Homeland by Second-generation Greek and Greek Cypriot ‘Returnees.’” Global Networks 11, 1 (2011): 1–23.
Greek Anti-Junta Struggle Collection, 1949-1975 (bulk 1967-1974). Papers of James G. Pyrros, James. 7.25 linear ft. University of Michigan Hatcher Graduate Library Labadie Collection of radical history in the United States. Unpublished finding aid available in repository.
Collection of materials on the Greek coup d'etat by military leaders in 1967 and the ensuing junta, which continued until 1974. Mostly concerned with the anti-junta struggle, but also present are some materials from the pro-junta viewpoint. Contains correspondence, reports, legislative materials, periodicals, transcripts, press releases, pamphlets, essays, clippings, programs and invitations, and biographical sketches. Materials were compiled by Detroit native James G. Pyrros (b.1948), member of the U.S. Army liaison detachment to the Greek Expeditionary Force, Assistant Attorney General for Michigan (1955-1961), administrative assistant to U.S. Congressional Representative Lucien Nedzi (D-Michigan) (1961-1980), activist in the Greek anti-junta effort in the United States, particularly involved with the U.S. Committee for Democracy in Greece (1967-1974). Primarily in English.
Georgakas, Dan. Papers, 1960s-1990. 1.25 linear ft. University of Michigan Hatcher Graduate Library. Boxlist available in repository.
Includes marked-up manuscript of Georgakas’s book, Detroit, I Do Mind Dying; file cards on some resources for same; manuscript of Don't Mourn, Organize: Joe Hill, the IWW and Western Labor Meeting; research materials related to Abdeen Jabara v. FBI regarding Arab Americans in Detroit; Martin Sostre Defense Committee materials; raw interviews with veterans of the IWW that were edited for use in Solidarity Forever: An Oral History of the IWW; original version of Georgakas’s essay on 19th century Detroit labor radical Richard Trevellick with two follow-up articles; fliers pertaining to Libertairian Communism in Detroit and the Greek Underground.
Eva C. Topping Papers, 1933-2010 (accession date was 11/12/10), University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
Personal and professional papers of Harvard-trained classicist and Greek Orthodox feminist author and lecturer Eva Topping (1920-). Her papers includes family and professional correspondence and notes and drafts of finished manuscripts of articles, lectures, and books on topics from Philhellenes in Michigan to women in the Greek Orthodox tradition. Topping's advocacy of a female deaconate and arguments for a female priesthood her into conflict with Greek Orthodox Church leaders in America and into dialogue with many people.
Richardson, Aaron. “The Basil John Vlavianos Papers (1880-1994).” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora Vol. 35.1 (2009): 91-100.
Offers a substantial guide to the Vlavianos papers housed by the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, California State University-Sacramento. Author was an intern at the Collections and wrote a MA Thesis on the content and research potential of the Vlavianos papers. Essay also places Vlavianos papers within the context of the broader SCUA project.
Autobiographies, Memoirs, Biographies
Fey, Tina. Bussypants. Reagan Arthur Books, 2011.
“She’s a comic genius, every woman’s imaginary best friend, and the thinking man’s sex symbol. Tina Fey didn’t get this far without pulling on her bossypants.
Before there was Liz Lemon, before there was “Sarah Palin,” before there was “Weekend Update”—there was a woman with a dream. A dream that one day she would write a book about how she got here. But she had to get there first.
On her way to becoming an award-winning superstar, Tina Fey struggled through some questionable haircuts, some after-school jobs, the rise of nachos as a cultural phenomenon, a normal childhood, a happy marriage and joyful motherhood. Her story must be told! Fey’s pursuit of the perfect beauty routine may actually give you laugh lines, and her depiction of her whirlwind tour of duty as the Other Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live takes you behind the scenes of a comedy event that transfixed the nation. Now, Fey can reflect on what she’s learned: You’re no one until someone calls you bossy.” (Book description, Reagan Arthur Books website)
Contis, Angelike. “Tina Fey’s Greek Gags – Uh, It’s Complicated For a Greek Thinker.” The National Herald Online. September 1 (2011).
“Is she Greek? Isn’t she? Does she feel Greek? Doesn’t she? While the general U.S. public may have focused on Tina Fey’s uncanny Sarah Palin impersonation or her television show 30 Rock, Greek Americans have wondered for a while how Emmy-winning writer/actress Fey – perhaps our highest profile pop culture figure after Jennifer Aniston at the moment- feels about her Greek heritage.”
Spanos, William V. In the Neighborhood of Zero: A World War II Memoir. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.
The haunting recollection of living through the British and American fire-bombing of Dresden as prisoner of war in a Nazi camp is the focal point of this memoir by William Spanos, Professor of English and comparative literature at Binghamton University and an esteemed Heideggerian literary critic and founding editor of boundary 2. The author’s motto: “Did you ever return to Dresden, Professor Spanos?” “I never left there.” Critical to the narration are the first words of the first chapter: “I am a Greek American” (1). Note that Spanos comes from a working class immigrant family that became highly educated and prominent, with one brother a politician in N.H. and Massachussets. In his early years in Newport, N.H. Spanos recalls running away from his ethnic self in response to treatment as a second-class citizen. His “conflicted experience” of his unit's probable betrayal in the Battle of the Bulge and “American’s destructive power in the world” in the Dresden bombing, and the forced labor he endured picking up corpses and enduring spittings by Germans who survived the attack, functions to draw out “the silent hyphen between my Greek and American selves” (3). Spanos’s memories, unspoken for decades, the act of narrating the unbelievable story of his disappearance for 5 months and return to his family in Newport NH as if from the dead become grist to his intellectual mill. The Dresden firebombing is the ground zero of his intellectual skepticism with respect to American institutions and ideals. (Artemis Leontis)
Families & Intermarriage
Karpathakis, Anna and Dan Georgakas. “Demythologizing Greek American Families.” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora Vol. 36. 1-2 (2010): 45-62.
This analysis of the Greek family data in the 2000 census was conducted by Karpathakis with the assistance of Georgakas. The major conclusion of the article is that the census data clearly demonstrates that Greek families, do not significantly differ from their American counterparts, but they have decidedly different patterns in different regions of the United Sates.
Film (Film Reviews)
Anagnostou, Yiorgos. “Greek America 101: My Big Greek Wedding’s Lessons.” The National Herald Online, June 25 (2011).
“…I also take an alternative route in teaching the film. Instead of asking what is true and what is false in the script, I encourage students to probe its significance: What is the purpose of portraying certain groups in specific ways? Why for example are immigrants caricatured? Why is it that the Millers are ridiculed in their WASPy ways? What does the contrast between the unruly Portokaloses and the uptight Millers accomplish? What is it that the film promotes? Clearly, the film denigrates immigrants and WASPs alike.”
Film (Film Scholarship)
Dombrowski, Lisa ed. Kazan Revisited. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan U Press, 2011.
“Fifteen essayists take on various dimensions of the film work of Kazan. Complete filmography and select bibliography featuring most recent books and basic sources on his film work.”
Georgakas, Dan. “Kazan, Kazan,” Cineaste Vol. 31-4 (Fall, 2011): 4-9.
Designed as a starting point for evaluating Kazan’s entire artistic career as a whole rather than in distinct segments as is the current practice. Strong emphasis also given on the leftist cultural influences in the work of Kazan and the impact on his work and politics that stem from his Anatolian identity.
Arapoglou, Eleftheria. A Bridge Over the Balkans: Demetra Vaka Brown and the Tradition of “Women’s Orients.” Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2011.
“This book is a critical study of Demetra Vaka Brown, one of the most significant Greek American writers of the turn of the last century, framed within the fields of “Orientalism” and cultural studies. Offering an overview of her life and career with analytical readings of her major works, the book’s focus is on the role of Vaka Brown as cultural agent: at once a white female and an immigrant of Greek descent and a former citizen of Ottoman Turkey who worked as a journalist and author in the United States, writing in English and contributing her work to mainstream publications. The book presents the identity and spatial politics of Vaka Brown, recovering the discursive techniques employed in her identification processes and assessing the significance of her cultural agency in the context of the dominant themes and preoccupations of the Orientalist tradition. Vaka Brown is further examined as a case study which provides historically informed and cultural perspectives on the complexities and ambiguities of women’s imperial positionings at the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries in the East and West. By exploring the author’s predicament in constructing an authorial and narrative identity in the interstices between the East and the West, modernity and tradition, ethnicity and nationalism, the book articulates a nuanced historical and cultural reading of Vaka Brown’s writing and ultimately probes the alternative responses Vaka Brown’s texts offer to the “scaffoldings” of nationalism.”
History (History and Historiography Scholarship)
Παπαδόπουλος, Γιάννης, Γ.Σ. “Οι μετανάστες από τη Μακεδονία στη Βόρεια Αμερική από «διατοπικά» σε «διεθνικά» υποκείμενα»” [“Immigrants from Macedonia in the USA: From translocal to transnational subjects.”] Archeiotaxio. No. 11 (2009): 37-54
History (Community and Regional Histories)
Stamos, Helen Coidakis, et al. The Greeks of Newport, New Hampshire. Newport, NH: Hedgehog Publishing, 2011.
The book compiles stories of Greek-born individuals, their businesses, families, descendants, networks (by place of origin, businesses, gender, belief) and practices, and their relationship to the "American Dream." Helen Coidakis Stamos has edited the words of others and composed many of her own accounts with respectful attention to the legacies of the people she has known who are no longer present, their difficult lives, and the sense of community they managed to recreate. The book is carefully researched, with an avid reader's attention to the multiple layers of Greek lives in American.
Literature and Poetry (Literature and Poetry Scholarship)
Zaharopoulos, Helen (Eleni). “Greek American Identity Under Historical, Social, and Literary Transformation.” Honors Thesis completed under the guidelines of the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and Arts, Winter 2011.
Author’s note: “Greek American Identity Under Historical, Social, and Literary Transformation” encompasses three generations of Greeks in Michigan and analyzes Greek identity within and through these generations. I used Yiorgos Anagnostou’s book, Contours of White Ethnicity, as my theoretical base model; I questioned, analyzed, and developed his argument by suggesting that Greek American identity constantly changes throughout each generation via circumstance, social environment, or political atmosphere (just to name a few). I examined three different texts: Legends and Legacies by Pearl Kastran Ahnen, My Detroit by Dan Georgakas, and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I discovered as each text distinctions in literary richness. As we move from pure fact in Ahnen’s work, to memoir in Georgakas’ text, to fictionalization in Eugenides’ novel, the level of flexibility in identity interpretation increases. In other words, the more fiction involved, the more room there is for interpreting identity. This suggests that Greek identity is extremely fluid and is constantly questioned and developed depending on circumstance.”
Trendel, Aristi. “The Reinvention of Identity in Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex.” European Journal of American Studies Oslo Conference Special Issue 2 (2011): document 6. ejas.revues.org/9036
Review of The Open Hearth: The First Generation: A Novel Immigration (Thomas Doulis) reviewed by Anastasia Stefanidou Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora Vol. 26.1-2 (2010).
Literature and Poetry (Poetry)
Tolides, Tryphon. Poems [“Village Time,” “After Vespers (I.M. Esfigmenou),” “First Rain in the Village,” “String Beans,” “After,” “The Last Apple,” “Next to Silence (Kenosis),” “Unexpected Dailiness”]. The Adirondack Review: An Arts & Literature Quarterly, Vol. XII.2 (Fall 2011).www.theadirondackreview.com/TryfonTolides.html
Tolides, Tryfon. Poems [“Aperture,” “Place,” “Stuff I’m Looking For"]. New Purlieu Review: Life in the Second Decade of the Century, Issue 1. 2011. newpurlieureview.com/page10.php
Kalfopoulou, Adrianne. Passion Maps. Pasadena: Red Hen Press, 2009.
Literature and Poetry (Fiction and Poetry Ph.D. Dissertations)
Patrona, Theodora. Novels of Return: Ethnic Spaces in Contemporary Greek-American and Italian American Literature. Diss. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki: Aristotle University, 2011.
Abstract: “The present thesis is a comparative approach to six Italian-American and Greek-American literary works written in the last three decades of the 20th century. Based on the common theme of the authors’ return, either metaphorical or literal to the two countries of origin and their respective cultures, this doctoral thesis explores the common motifs of mythology, ritual and storytelling where the heroes and heroines resort to in their quest for self-definition. In specific, my analysis attempts to answer two questions: how is the journey to self-definition, as well as the formation of subjectivity, connected with the recourse to ethnic space in each of the novels examined? In addition, to what extent are these two elements affected by the constantly changing framework of social, historical and economic conditions, covering two decades?
Within the context of the seventies, I discuss Daphne Athas’s Cora (1978) and Helen Barolini’s Umbertina (1979), whose heroines, caught under the spell of feminist and psychoanalytic trends of their times, realize the importance of ethnic space in their journey towards self-definition. Assisted by diverse theories, I argue that though differently approached, in the end for both novels ethnic space is proven to be a site of resilience and inspiration. Moreover, in the so-called era of post-feminism, Catherine Temma Davidson’s The Priest Fainted (1998) and Susan Caperna Lloyd’s No Pictures in My Grave (1992) portray heroines who seek enlightenment and guidance by returning to the home country and its culture. In both cases, I consider the theoretical arsenal of revisionist mythmaking and the late-capitalist dictates reflected, and I argue that the two heroines are carriers of a similar “haughty” air of Orientalism. I conclude that since they opt for a “selective” ethnicity, they oversimplify and disorient readers as to the importance and difficulty of the ethnic female quest. Finally, utilizing two novels written by male authors, Stratis Haviaras When The Tree Sings (1979) and Tony Ardizzone’s In the Garden of Papa Santuzzu (1999), I break away from the exclusive attention to a feminist approach, and view the conceptualization of ethnic space as this is unraveled by the powerful narrative mode of storytelling. Thus, I argue that overcoming the twenty years that separate them, both novels come to underwrite the surviving powers of the oral narrative, project the ethnic story as “alternative” history, and portray the diachronic character of ethnic space as a site of rebelliousness and anti- conformism.
On the whole, with geographical proximity, common historical and cultural background in the old countries, and similar reception of the two immigrant groups in the new world facilitating a comparative approach, I conclude that the ethnic writers discussed depict parallel courses of the ethnic persona’ journey towards self-definition and their similarly changing perception of ethnic space. Thus, this comparative study, based on its originality, should be seen as an initial attempt to liberate both literatures Greek-American and Italian- American from their respective insularity, with the hope to instigate a better understanding and appreciation of both cultures as well as strengthen the status of both literatures within and outside their respective communities.”
Music and Song (new category)
Annabouboula, “Immortal Water.” Record Label: Byzan-Tone, 2010.
"Annabouboula" is a Greek expression meaning a mixed-up noise, but for years, Annabouboula the group has been exploring a seductive alternate musical world where Greek, Middle Eastern and Balkan traditions are re-tooled and re-imagined with an anything-goes attitude befitting their Athens-meets-downtown New York origins. Starting out in the late 1980's with the ground-breaking singles "Hamam" and "Don't Worry Ma", Annabouboula went on to thrill festival and TV audiences world-wide with their challenging approach to Greek roots-rock, setting precedents for the next two decades of ethnic fusion. Featuring the spellbinding Anna Paidoussi singing provocatively over the rhythms and soundscapes of guitarist George Barba Yiorgi and friends, their new release Immortal Water picks up where their classic critically-acclaimed World Beat albums like In The Baths of Constantinople left off, injecting surf-rock, big-beat electronica, and gypsy-pop flash into their unique blend of Greek folk, rebetika, and contemporary flavors. From the hard-rocking anthem of the Athens underworld Hello Sailor, to the haunting dub-reggae inflected What Do You Care, to the odd-meter electronic dance workout of The Drum Lesson, to the title song, a reworking of a 1920s folk tune for the 21st century, Annabouboula will take you on a trip to the outer limits of global pop.
Lingas, Alexander. "The Domestication of Greek Orthodox Liturgical Music in America 1930-1960." Conference Talk in Pilgrims and Pioneers: The Growth of Orthodox Christianity in 20th Century America. Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, October 1, 2011.
Abstract: This paper explores the early reception of Greek Orthodox liturgical music in the United States of America during its crucial formative period of 1930–1960. It begins by identifying a number of ‘Old World’ sources for Greek American repertories, the most important of which are the received traditions of post-medieval Byzantine chanting as practised throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, polyphony as cultivated at the Royal Chapel of the Hellenic Kingdom, and the reformed idiom of Byzantine chanting proffered by the Athenian cantor John Sakellarides. It then addresses the transformation of these sources in publications of liturgical music issued on the East Coast of the USA from 1931 to 1953 by Nicholas Roubanis, Christos Vrionides, George Anastasiou and Anna Geortheou Gallos. It concludes by briefly discussing the early work in Los Angeles of Frank Desby, whose publications combined further movement toward what was at that time the American musical mainstream with an academic agenda adopted from European composers and musicologists.
Karpozilos, Kostis. Μακαρθισμός: Τα Ελληνικά Ονόματα της Μαύρης Λίστας. ΤΑ ΝΕΑ, Βιβλιοδρόμιο, Ιούλιος (2011):16-19.
Tzortzinis, Christina. “Expressions of Greek America.” Honors Thesis completed under the guidelines of the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and Arts, Winter 2011.
Author’s note: “Expressions of Greek America” is a multilayered study about key moments in foreign policy when Greek and United States interests came into opposition, challenging the place of Greek Americans in U.S. society while also inspiring lasting community-building efforts. My thesis charts Greek American reactions to events abroad through the Junta government 1967-74, the Cyprus crisis of 1974-75, and the more recent community outcry over the Macedonia naming issue. I argue that the significance of Greek identity in the diaspora is not a tenuous connection to static, distant heritage, but a continuing interaction in which changing homelands and diasporic communities influence each other in meaningful ways.
I was initially drawn to this project for the challenge of developing a multidimensional research topic that could integrate my interests in the dynamics of American society, my passion for Modern Greek studies, and my training as a History major at U-M. This study matters because the past is an integral part of the present, just as the present builds the future. I think that reflecting on past changes in communities is an important way for them to understand how circumstances shaped them and how they can move forward from those experiences to build upon them in the present—and this is very relevant to the changes happening with U.S. society today. I find historical and social complexities compelling. I was also excited to link my own experience as a Greek American with the grounding of a sustained academic study, and I welcomed the opportunity to work closely with faculty members to shape my own research project and add something to the field.
Working on my thesis was an even more valuable experience than I had anticipated when I began the process: not only did I gain valuable knowledge about life during one of the most revolutionary periods in American social history, the 1960s. I also learned how to work with an archive to develop a focus for my research. I had the fortune to shape my project with the richness of the primary source documents in James Pyrros’s collection of Greek Junta papers housed in U-M’s Hatcher Graduate Library Special Collection. I read the words of those who had been active in the community during this time, and it became very important for me to showcase their voices in my work. My thesis contrasts the materiality of the archive—paper telegrams, personal letters, and newspaper clippings— with my sources from the current millennium, which are nearly exclusively web-based and therefore exist electronically. I found it really interesting to look at these shifts in media and examine their effects on community building in Greek America.
As a student who grew up in the 1990s with the rise of Internet communication, I am a member of the last generation to remember a world without computers, cell phones or social media. Connecting my knowledge of the recent past with that of the radically different present became an integral part of my understanding and learning as I proceeded with this project. My research is, in a very real sense, an homage to our globalizing world.
Pyrros, James G. The Cyprus File: Washington, DC-A Diary of the Cyprus Crisis in the Summer of 1974. New York: Pella Publishing, 2010.
“James Pyrros, served for twenty years as top aide to Congressman Lucien Nedzi, Democrat from a Detroit district in Michigan. Pyrros offers a behinds-the-scenes account of efforts by Washington insiders, journalists, and activists to redirect American policy regarding the Cyprus crisis which was generated by the anti-Makarios coup initiated by junta in Greece. Extensive accounts of efforts of anti-junta efforts and the responses to the Turkish invasion.”
Stivachtis, Yannis A. “Greek Anti-Americanism and Its Implications for the Relations Between Greece and the Hellenic Diaspora in the United States.” Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora Vol. 26.1-2 (2010).
Blogs and Resource Portals
(memoir and archival photographs, including U.S. magazine covers; Manos Hadjidakis and Melina Mercouri in New York City)
(see under “Greekish” category for posts on Greek America by Stephanie Nikolopoulos, a writer).
WORLDWIDE GREEK DIASPORA AND TRANSNATIONAL WORLDS (new subcategory “Latin America”)
Τάμης Αναστάσιος Μ. Οι Έλληνες της Λατινικής Αμερικής. Ελληνικά Γράμματα, Αθήνα: 2006 [Δίγλωσση έκδοση, Μετάφραση στην Ισπανική Margarita Larriera, Ίδρυμα Μαρία Τσάκου,Montevideo]