1st Edition

Greeks without Greece
Homelands, Belonging, and Memory amongst the Expatriated Greeks of Turkey

ISBN 9780815372905
Published November 15, 2018 by Routledge
256 Pages

USD $155.00

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Book Description

Faced with discrimination in Turkey, the Greeks of Istanbul and Imbros overwhelmingly left the country of their birth in the years c.1940–1980 to resettle in Greece, where they received something of a lukewarm reception from the government and segments of the population. This book explores the myriad ways in which the expatriated Greeks of Turkey daily understand their contemporary difficulties through the lens of historical experience, and reimagine the past according to present concerns and conceptions. It demonstrates how the Greeks of Turkey draw upon the particularities of their own local heritages in order simultaneously to establish their legitimacy as residents of Greece and maintain a sense of their distinctiveness vis-à-vis other Greeks; and how expatriate memory activists respond to their persecution in Turkey and their marginalisation in Greece by creating linkages between their experiences and both Greek national history and the histories of other persecuted communities. Greeks without Greece shows that in a broad spectrum of different domains – from commemorative ceremonies and the minutiae of citizenship to everyday expressions of national identity and stereotypes about others – the past is a realm of active and varied use capable of sustaining multiple and changeable identities, memories, and meanings.

Table of Contents


List of tables and figures



Part I: Introduction


Greeks without Greece: overview


Methodology and sources

Structure of the book


1 – The Greeks of Turkey





Part II: Local Homelands and National Belonging

2 – Patrída as a local metaphor

Patrída as a local metaphor

Through the looking glass: continuity, invention, imposition

The ‘usable past’: the everyday life of national identity


3 – More than simply Hellenic: Belonging and inclusive particularity

The Greeks of Turkey: a diaspora community?

The Helleno-Romaic dilemma

‘The Romiós is one thing and the Hellene is another’

Inclusive particularity (1): Polítes and Byzantium

Inclusive particularity (2): Imvriótes and Ancient Athens

Expatriate protoselves



4 – Without barbarians: Turks and Elladítes

Ethnicity as an ‘interpretive prism’

Good Turk, bad Turks

Nominal and experiential Turks

Privileged knowledge (1): the ‘bad Turks’

Privileged knowledge (2): the ‘good Turk’



Part III: National and Transnational Histories

5 – Everyday multidirectional memory

Holocaust memory

Mediated memory

An everyday history of multidirectional memory


6 – ‘The Third Fall’: Commemorations and national history

‘The 300 who stayed’: thinking analogically

Commemorating the 1955 Istanbul Riots

Commemorating the 1453 Fall of Constantinople

1453 and 1821

1453 and 1955

Transcending the national paradigm: the Federation of Constantinopolitans



7 – ‘Kristallnacht in Constantinople’: Parallel and analogous histories

Parallel histories: Armenians and Kurds

Analogous histories: Jews and Nazis

Asymmetric histories: the Western Thracian minority

From ‘pogrom’ to ‘genocide’: classifying the persecution of the Greeks of Turkey

Transcultural memory in personal testimony

Transnational nationalism?



Part IV: Homelands New and Old

8 – Welcome to Gökçeada: The Greek return to Imbros

Between ‘New Imbros’ and ‘Old Imbros’

Confronting ‘the real Imbros’: challenges and prospects

‘Native tourists’: belonging in the Imvrian return

‘When you return to your patrída’: the second generation




Inclusive particularity

The past as a critical mirror

Excavating and backfilling the past

Everyday multidirectionality


Appendix: Tables

Table 1 – List of interviewees: Polítes

Table 2 – List of interviewees: Imvriótes

Table 3 – List of interviewees: Second generation

Table 4 – Decline in Greek-speaking/Orthodox Christian populations of Istanbul and Imbros


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Dr Huw Halstead is a research fellow at the University of St Andrews. He was previously the Macmillan-Rodewald Postdoctoral Student at the British School at Athens (2018), an associate lecturer in the Department of History and a member of the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP) at the University of York (2017–2018), and the postdoctoral research fellow in history at the Humanities Research Centre, University of York (2016–2017). His research focuses on displacement, memory, and public history with a particular emphasis on the Mediterranean world. He is director of the pedagogic project Personalising History, which uses oral history to develop educational resources to teach about the Holocaust in secondary education.