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‘Greeks without Greece’: local homelands, national belonging, and transnational histories amongst the expatriated Greeks of Turkey

Halstead, Huw (2016) ‘Greeks without Greece’: local homelands, national belonging, and transnational histories amongst the expatriated Greeks of Turkey. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Halstead_Greeks without Greece.pdf
Restricted until 10 September 2021.


In this thesis, I focus on the experiences of the Greeks of Istanbul and Imbros/Gökçeada, who were exempted from the compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. Particularly in the years c.1950-1980, members of these communities were faced with persecution in Turkey, and overwhelmingly left their places of birth to resettle in Greece, their purported ‘national homeland’. Drawing on oral history testimonies, written documentation, and participant observation, I explore how the expatriated Greeks of Turkey appealed to and reworked the past as they attempted to establish belonging in their new place of residence, make sense of their recent historical experiences, and communicate these understandings to others. Part I sets out the conceptual, methodological, and historical background of the thesis. In part II, I consider the representation of self and others by the Greeks of Turkey, arguing that they sought to assert both belonging and distinctiveness within the Greek national community by emphasising the specificities of their own local heritages. Part III investigates the ways in which activists and writers from the expatriated community, in their efforts to raise awareness of their experiences of persecution, adopted and adapted archetypes both from Greek nationalist history and the mnemonic repertoires of other communities, and I discuss these discourses in relation to the recent ‘transcultural turn’ in memory studies. In part IV, I turn my attention to the seasonal, semi-permanent, and permanent return of the Greeks to Imbros after 1988, documenting how these more recent developments have impacted upon the community’s relationship to the Greek state, and the transmission of memory and identity to the younger Greek-born generation. I conclude by suggesting that anthropologists and historians can make significant contributions to current scholarly debates concerning national identity and social memory by examining the internal heterogeneity and malleability of ethnicity and nationhood, and how the transcultural circulation of memories makes its presence felt on particular local communities in particular historical contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Memory, identity, nationalism, oral history, migration, Greeks of Turkey
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Mr Huw Halstead
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2016 10:07
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2016 10:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14279

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