Art,national identity,Politics,Postcolonialism

Emperor Ras Tafari in Piraeus: Seferis’s Colonial Anxieties

by Akis Gavriilidis

 

Abstract

Seferis’s poem “Leoforos Syngrou II” has received little critical attention.

Works outside the canon often prove a useful lens for an author’s practice.

This is also the case with this poem, which directly refers to a colonial and racial problematic. Seferis, both as an object of mainstream scholarship and as an icon of Greek pop culture during the last half of the 20th century, has been mainly seen as a champion of “Greekness” –construed as the solitary course of a unique nation through various vicissitudes. The author himself encouraged such a reading. In his work, however, we find evidence that Seferis was attentive to elements undermining this uniqueness, shifting attention to links, cleavages and hierarchizations within both Hellenism and humanity at large. This makes Greekness appear as a product of, and as an instrument for the production of, knowledge about and classification of individuals and ethnic groups, including self-knowledge and self-classification, as well as a technology for profiling and variously claiming and/ or attributing rights to those groups. Our understanding of Seferis’s Hellenism would be incomplete without its colonial and racial dimension.

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national identity,Performativity,Politics,Translation

Name trouble: the «so-called people» and the communism of language

by Akis Gavriilidis

I. Introduction

In an interview to the Macedonian Television in February 2011, the British diplomat Robin O’Neil declared:

“The Greece-Macedonia name row is the most bizarre diplomatic dispute in Europe today. No one outside of Greece can perceive why should Macedonia change its name. What is Greece’s national interest in doing this? Greece has not suffered in any way as a result of Macedonia’s existence under the current name in the past 20 years, and Greece never opposed Macedonia’s existence as part of SFR Yugoslavia»[1].

He also said that “the consistent Greek opposition to Macedonia’s NATO and EU accession is especially difficult to understand” (ibid.).

O’Neil here states the obvious as regards diplomatic practice and international relations, but what he says is also valid epistemologically. I think that his statement is a very useful way to start a treatment of the issue from a political theory point of view as well: in fact, if diplomats had a hard time to figure out what Greece is trying to achieve or to avoid by its reaction, social theorists did not do much better up to Συνέχεια

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