Movement, Migration and Refugees NUBS 1.04
Jul 05, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230705T1100 20230705T1230 Europe/London 3.2. Migration and place NUBS 1.04 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
15 attendees saved this session
Aestheticizing urban poverty: Asia Minor refugee shacks and bourgeois modernism in 1930s Greece
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
The year 2022 marked the centennial of the "Asia Minor Catastrophe". Greece's defeat in the Asia Minor Greco-Turkish war (1919-1922) led to the compulsory population exchange between the two countries, following the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). According to a bilateral agreement, based on religion and aiming to create national homogenization, approximately 500,000 Muslims and more than a million Orthodox Christians were uprooted, reshaping the Greek nation's culture, collective memory and economic development. Thousands of refugees settled on the outskirts of Athens, Piraeus and other major cities, intensifying urbanization and providing Greece with an abundance of cheap and landless industrial labour. Since the Refugee Settlement Commission prioritized the settlement of refugees in the agricultural border regions of northern Greece, refugees who found themselves in urban areas had to build their own dwellings, using anything available. These improvised dwellings were greatly admired by Greek modernists of the 1930s, constructing a discourse on the essence of Greek identity, aestheticizing the creativity of the "common folk".
In this paper I explore how the urban refugees' architectural inventiveness, necessitated by their extreme poverty, was integrated in the alleged continuum of the 'Greek Civilization.' I argue that within the quest for a unifying reconfiguration of Greek national identity, the Asia Minor refugees were de facto identified as generic "Greek" folk people, regardless of their origins and their own cultural memories.
Within this ideological framework, I support the view that the refugees' improvised urban dwellings were aesthetically appropriated into the discourse of Greek vernacular architecture, reflecting the principles of modern interwar architecture, which emphasized functional austerity, integrating both natural and prefabricated materials. 
Influenced by modernist architects, such as Le Corbusier, Greek artists and architects of the 1930s extolled the resourceful austerity of the urban refugee shacks, built under conditions of utmost necessity. However, their discourse, focusing on "folk" people as bearers of indigenous Greek traditions, disregarded both the multicultural heritage and privations of these refugees many of whom, ultimately, had to live in these dwellings for generations.
Maria Moschou
Dr, Independent Researcher
Past and present refugee movements and evolving memory: The case of the Greek island of Hios.
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
This paper examines the evolution of the national and local memory of the 1940s famine-induced refugee movement of the Hian island community, in response to the recent refugee movements to the island of Hios and Greece.
Occupied Greece experienced a deadly famine in the early 1940s. Despite the movement restrictions imposed by the occupying forces, people managed to escape illegally from the country and the famine, seeking refuge in Turkey. These refugees were subsequently transferred to camps in the Middle East and in Africa where they resided for the remainder of World War II. Some of those refugees, or their parents, had arrived to Hios as refugees in the 1910s/early 1920s from Turkey. 
At the local level, as demonstrated in oral histories conducted on Hios in 1990, the Hian survivors of the famine remembered the refugee movement very well, whether they themselves had participated in it or others ­- neighbours, friends or relatives - had done so. While such an individual and collective memory existed on the island, this was rarely discussed in public. The 2015 refugee crisis brought the memory of the famine-refugee movement to the fore, this memory being used to justify the warm welcome Hians afforded to the new refugees. I argue that the new wave of refugees led to public and private discussions of the 1940s-refugee movement of Hians and to the firm re-establishment of the local collective memory. Concurrently, these past experiences provided the Hians with a language to articulate their support and feelings towards the new refugees. 
At the national level, the 1940s famine-refugee movement had never entered the collective memory until the 2015 refugee crisis. The new refugee wave led, at the national level, to public discussions and publications concerning the 1940s refugee movement making it widely known. Such publications and discussions have led to the creation of a rather faint national collective memory of the 1940-movement. However, much wider use was made of the strong national collective memory of the arrival of the 1922 Greek refugees from Turkey, in drawing parallels between the past and recent movements.
The paper argues that both local and national collective memories were enhanced by and reshaped through the arrival of the new refugees to the island of Hios. At the same time, the Hians' own past refugee experiences provided them with the language and confidence to discuss the new refugee movements and articulate their feelings towards the new refugees.  
Violetta Hionidou
Professor , Newcastle University
The role of collective memory of the ‘Asia Minor Catastrophe’ in the securitisation of migration at the Greek-Turkish borders
Individual paperMovement, Migration and Refugees 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
This year marks the centenary of the 1922 forced displacement that followed a decade of warfare between Greece and the Ottoman Empire. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne legalised the expulsion of more than a million Greek Christians to Greece and that of approximately 400,000 Muslims to Turkey. The departure and arrival of both sets of refugees left indelible marks on both states and societies with the memory and trauma of refugeedom still remaining alive today. Fast forward a century, in 2015-2016, the region comes again to the epicentre of forced migrations when more than a million asylum seekers crossed the Greek-Turkish border in search of a better life. Following an initial, albeit short-lived welcoming/desecuritised response, the Greek state's policies towards newcomers quickly rolled back to a state of increased securitisation. This paper focuses on the role of the Greek public's collective memory of the 1922 events – which are known in the country as the 'Asia Minor Catastrophe' – in contemporary public attitudes towards immigration, security, and Greek-Turkish relations.
Dimitris Skleparis
Lecturer In The Politics Of Security, Newcastle University
Independent Researcher
Newcastle University
Lecturer in the Politics of Security
Newcastle University
 Alina Doboszewska
PhD student
Institute of Sociology of the Jagiellonian University
No attendee has checked-in to this session!
Upcoming Sessions
442 visits