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*POSTPONED* Frontier Urbanism Month - In conversation

Frontier Urbanism Month - In conversation

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  • Date 03 Nov 2021
  • Time 16.30
  • Category Lecture

Refugee resettlement and urban development in twentieth-century Greece Renee Hirschon in conversation with Paris Chronakis

Frontier Urbanism refers to two fault lines that have shaped the cities in South Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean: the ever-expanding frontier between urban and rural, and the frontiers created by ethnic cleansing and religious communalism in the process of nation formation. In a series of events we seek to illuminate how these two frontiers have intersected and overlapped in surprising ways, often long after traumatic events of Partition and displacement have passed into memory.

Renée Hirschon reflects on a lifetime’s work that took her from an international urban planning office in downtown Athens to a refugee settlement in early 1970s Piraeus. Drawing from her personal experiences on the field, she discusses the place of memory and the memory of place in the lives of three generations of Greek refugees from Asia Minor as they navigated the dramatically transformed built environment of pre- and post-war Athens.

Renée Hirschon was educated at the Universities of Cape Town, Chicago, and Oxford.  She was Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University before becoming Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of the Aegean from 1987 and Chair of the department until 1998. She has long been a Research Associate of the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at St Peter's College, and a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the European Studies Centre and of South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX) St Antony's College, University of Oxford. Her major study was among Asia Minor refugees who settled in Piraeus, Greece, following the 1923 Lausanne Convention which specified the compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey. This resulted in the monograph Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe (2nd edn., 1998). Her most recent publication, an edited volume Crossing the Aegean (2003, 2004), is a bilateral appraisal of the long-term effects of 'ethnic cleansing' on both countries. She is concerned with the relevance of anthropological knowledge to contemporary conditions, and her research interests include migration, cosmology, gender, and linguistic behaviour.

Dr Paris Papamichos Chronakis is Lecturer in Modern Greek History at Royal Holloway University of London. His work explores questions of transition from empire to nation-state bringing together the entangled histories of Jewish, Muslim and Christian urban middle classes from the late Ottoman Empire to the Holocaust. In recent years, his research and publications have expanded to post-imperial urban identities, Balkan War refugees, Salonica in World War One, Greek interwar Zionism and anti-Zionism, the Holocaust of Sephardi Jewry and digital Holocaust Studies. He was a member of the scientific committee developing the ‘Database of Greek Jewish Holocaust Survivors’ Testimonies’ and is currently on the editorial board of the Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Moderne et Contemporaine.

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