Friday, June 18, 2021

College Students: What is a subject worth the attention of Greek American studies? (Growing up and Identity through the life cycle)

One of the homework assignments in my Greek American class this semester (Spring 2021) was the following: 

1) What is an important topic of personal significance to you that you would like scholars of Greek America to explore? Why is this topic important (to you, or the country, or Greek America)? What questions should they be asking in their research of this topic? 

2) Ask these scholars a question of your own choice. Please be creative and insightful, devote some time thinking seriously the questions you will be asking. 

This is an answer that asks researchers,"what makes them decide what to devote time and resources to what they research?" 
For me, the thing I would like to see most from those who study Greek American topics to ensure that they view Greek Americans as human beings, not just as objects to be studied. Many Greek Americans, myself included, are very proud to be Greek, and their Greekness plays a large part in their identity. However, we are more than just Greek, and I think it would do researchers good to keep that in mind. As for a specific topic I would like to see covered, I think the social dynamics in Greek Orthodox church communities in America would be an interesting one. Growing up in the church was one of the main ways I was taught my Greek culture. Especially now in modern times, the dynamic at play here is quite unique. Specifically looking at the youth, the parts of their childhood spent at the church are likely what will define their connection to the culture for the rest of their lives. 

I believe that the best way to understand Greek Americans is to understand how they grew up. I think some interesting questions to try and find answers to is what the youth think of their culture. Are they involved in culture related activities to please their parents, or because they genuinely enjoy them? Would they consider their primary social group to be their Greek friends or their American friends? Do they feel they fit in better at school or at church? These are just a few of the many questions that I think would have valid answers. Of course, it is not easy to interview small children, but i believe it would be possible to ask these questions of teenagers. Something that could be quite interesting is to interview these Greek Americans at a young ages, say 15, and then interview them again every 5 years if possible to see if their views on their culture change as they grow up. This is an important topic to me personally as in my experience I know my views on the culture has changed. When I was a kid, I detested Greek school and complained about it constantly. When my mom made me join Greek dance, I complained about having to spend an extra evening at the church. By the time I was fifteen I had graduated Greek School and found myself missing it, as my very best friends were made there. Greek dance practice was the highlight of my week, and I even found myself taking a leadership role in my troupe. Now, in college I chose to take more Greek language and culture classes, and have found that many of my Greek friends who go to different colleges are jealous that I have the opportunity to do so, despite having hated Greek school as much as I did as a child. This leads me to theorize that this is a common experience in the Greek American community, and yet there is no research to support it, which is why I would propose it as a topic of study for Greek American scholars. My question to these scholars would be what makes them decide what to devote time and resources to what they research?

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