Young people generate a wide range of institutional activities in Greek America. Initiatives such as Got Greek, the National Hellenic Society, and enduring youth programs in Greek Orthodox parishes promote Greek identification in the United States.
U.S. Modern Greek Programs and Colleges in Greece also participate in this identity making. Student testimonies speak about Greek education in the United States and study abroad experience in Greece as deeply transformative, often vital in reclaiming identity.
Though heritage students are central in our professional lives as Modern Greek studies educators, academic work on Greek American youth is uneven. Oral history projects certainly focus explicitly on College students, a subject which is also discussed in few ethnographic reports. Extensive fieldwork has been carried out among young Greek Americans who settle in Greece. Autobiographical and fictional narratives of youth identity and belonging have been topics of academic research. And sociology traces intergenerational language and culture loss.
Still there is no book length ethnography on the topic of Greek American youth. There is no understanding of the issues this cohort faces in contexts such as the classroom, the family, the community, transnational travel, and the workplace, among others. The recent controversy over the MTV show "Growing up Greek" brought to the fore a number of perspectives about youth identity about which scholarship is lacking.
The purpose of this roundtable is to place this population at the center of reflection. Panelists will briefly discuss emergent research, identify new contexts, pose questions for further work, and engage with the audience on how to best advance scholarship on this topic. Can we collectively think on how to tap our educational co-experience with heritage students to better understand this cohort?
Organizer: Yiorgos Anagnostou (Ohio State University)
Information on the panelists’ and presider's scholarship and relevant experience
Despina Margomenou (University of Michigan) is an educator with a long experience in the pedagogies of teaching language and culture in a major Modern Greek Program. This scholar will discuss how Greek American College students engage with Greek identities in interactive situations in a classroom setting.
Panayiotis League (Harvard University), a Ph.D. candidate, has conducted extensive ethnography on music and dance in several Greek American communities. This researcher will adopt a transregional and transnational perspective to examine the importance of traditional music in the making of ethnic identity among the youth.
Fevronia Soumakis (Teachers College, Columbia University), the third panelist, a recent Ph.D, works on Greek education in the United States, and has been conducting research on Church programs and identity. This scholar will discuss the ways the Greek Orthodox Church shapes Greek American youth in a particular parish, through multiple youth ministries.
Yiorgos Anagnostou (The Ohio State University), the fourth panelist has published extensively on Greek America. This speaker will discuss the recent controversy over the MTV show “Growing up Greek,” and the issues this debate brings in relation to Greek American youth cultures.
Artemis Leontis (University of Michigan), the presider of the forum, a widely known specialist in Greek and Greek diaspora studies, will introduce the themes of the panel and lead the discussion.