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Bodies of Silence and Resilience: Writing Marginality

  • Natalie Zervou

Abstract

Since 2009, the financial crisis in Greece has brought about a need to revisit the past and challenge previous historical assumptions in order to understand the socio-political present more effectively. Dance, and performing arts in general, have reflected this urge by giving voice to marginalized events and perspectives in Greek history, and by challenging the dominant rhetoric of ancient Greek lineage and continuity that often overlooked the significance of ethnic minorities. As such, the focus has shifted away from a sense of unity toward a fragmented understanding of Greek identity that is re-envisioning history and documenting the present by taking into consideration under-represented communities, such as ethnic minorities and immigrants.

Drawing on a series of collaborative video-dance projects by Despina Stamos and Jill Woodward (passTRESpass and Bodies of Resilience), which engage with the subject position of immigrants in Greece during the crisis, this paper examines the relationship between marginality and dominant national histories, as well as the role of dance in (re)writing these “margins” and rendering them visible. Especially at a time when extreme nationalism and racism are on the rise in Greece, can dance provide the subjects of discrimination with agency, and create a space for them to “speak” against racist violence? How are these immigrants’ embodied histories in dialogue with the current rewriting of Greek identity and history?

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References

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Athanasiou, Athena. 2006. “Bloodlines: Performing the Body of the ‘Demos’, Reckoning the time of the ‘Ethnos’.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 24(2): 229256.
Bodies of Resilience . 2014. Directed by Jill Woodward and Despina Stamos. http://vimeo.com/93303510. Accessed August 11, 2014.
Cabot, Heath. 2014. On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece (The Ethnography of Political Violence). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Herzfeld, Michael. 1989. Anthropology Through the Looking Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Laliotou, Ioanna. 2010. “Remembering Diaspora, Forgetting the Global? Emerging Cosmopolitcs in Contemporary Greece.” Journal of Modern Greek Studies 28(2): 246255.
Onisenko, Kostas. 2014. Ξημέρωμα στο Αιγαίο (Dawn in the Aegean). Athens. http://www.kathimerini.gr/782741/interactive/epikairothta/ereynes/sth-lewforo-twn-metanastwn-meta3y-xioy-kai-tsesme#webdoc. Accessed September 7, 2014.
Stamos, Despina, and Woodward, Jill. 2014. Interview by Natalie Zervou, July 5.
Free Self-Managed Embros Theatre . http://www.embros.gr. Accessed July 09, 2014.
Popular Association GOLDEN DAWN: Information . 2014. http://www.xryshaygh.com/en/information. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Zervas, Theodore. 2012. The Making of a Modern Greek Identity: Education, Nationalism, and the Teaching of a Greek National Past. East European Monographs. New York: Columbia University Press.
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Congress on Research in Dance Conference Proceedings
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2049-1255
  • URL: /core/journals/congress-on-research-in-dance
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