14 November 2019: Lecture: Memory of Asia Minor in Contemporary Greek Culture

Guest speaker: dr. Kristina Gedgaudaite, Laskarides Visiting Research Fellow in Modern Greek Studies 2019, UvA
Title: Smyrna in your pocket: Memory of Asia Minor in Contemporary Greek Culture
Time: 3.00-5.00 p.m.
Location: PCH, UvA, room 1.05, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam
Language: English

This talk will address the long-term legacies of forced migration in the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) in Asia Minor and the population exchange that followed. Drawing on the theories of cultural memory and intergenerational transmission of trauma, it will highlight different ways of how culture participates in shaping historical understanding of these events in present-day Greece. If in the first generation of refugees memory constituted a tool for constructing a homeland, and the second generation took on the responsibility for “mnemonic survival” of this homeland, in the third generation, where gradually Asia Minor extends to include those who are not necessarily of refugee descent —  the chief concern becomes how to tell its history, where form is as important as its contents. Through a range of examples, it will be argued that memory provides a toolkit which can be used to craft one’s own place in history. Within this framework, the memory of Asia Minor will emerge as pertinent to cultural perceptions of the past as it is reflective of present day ideologies.
Kristina Gedgaudaite completed her doctorate thesis at the University of Oxford, where she worked on the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and the exchange of the Turkish-Greek populations in 1923. Through a number of case studies and different media — including history textbook, documentary film, graphic novel and theatre performance — she discussed how memories of these events are transmitted at the time when witnesses remain a few. Her general research interests fall within the fields of cultural memory and refugee studies. As a Laskaridis Visiting Fellow at the University of Amsterdam, Kristina is currently working on a monograph, which is based on her thesis but also includes significantly reworked material.

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