Memories of Imvros: Transformed Spaces of Identity and Belonging on an Aegean Island
Research Area 1 – Displacements, “Dépaysement” and Discrepencies: People, Knowledge and Practices
Research Area 3 – Objects, Traces, Mapping: Everyday Experience of Spaces
Fitting into the wider context of studies on diasporic transformation, the purpose of this research is to investigate intergenerational differences in the relationship that members of the Greek-speaking Imvriot diaspora have to Imvros (Gökçeada), one of the islands ceded to Turkey in the aftermath of WWI. The project seeks to take an alternative approach to understanding the experiences of ‘being Imvriot’ and ‘belonging to Imvros’ through an exploration of both the individual and collective relationships that members of the Imvriot diaspora exhibit towards both the island as a whole and to specific sites across the island.
As a grounded theory ethnography, the research provides an in-depth analysis of the spatial imaginaries, memories and movements of members of different age groups within the Imvriot diaspora through interviewing, mental mapping and participatory observation methods. In turn, it has simultaneously shed light on the liminal spaces of identity and belonging occupied by some members of the Imvriot diaspora as they negotiate their relationships to Greece, Turkey, Imvros and beyond. As a result, this has also provided insight regarding the transformation of Imvros’ cultural landscape over time.
On a theoretical level, the contents of this research are bound together by the intersection of three key concepts: memory, place and belonging. Drawing attention to the dynamic, variable and shifting qualities of each, the project not only to interrogates culturally dominant interpretations of memory, place and belonging as static and bounded, but also challenges essentialist notions of identity and belonging that continue to dominate popular ways of imagining and living in global society. In doing so, it illuminates that rather than aligning with politically imagined boundaries of belonging between ethnicities, cultures or other, belonging often exists in the liminal spaces in-between boundaries.
- 2019-Present: PhD Candidate, European Joint Doctorate MOVES: Migration and Modernity – Historical and Cultural Challenges (Charles University, Prague and Paul-Valéry University, Montpellier)
- 2016-2017: MA International Migration, University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies
- 2012-2016: BA International Comparative Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
Teaching and Research Positions
- 2021-2022 Early-Stage Researcher, Paul-Valéry University, Montpellier
- 2019-2021 Early-Stage Researcher, Charles University, Prague
- 2017-2019 English Lecturer, Tourism Faculty, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, Turkey
- “‘I’m not Greek, I’m Imvriot’: Diasporic Identities in Greece and Turkey.” Greece, Turkey and the Past and Present of Forced Migration, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. 5 September 2022.
- “Imagining Ίμβρος: Conceptions of a Lost Homeland.” The Migration Conference, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco. 8 September 2022.
- “East, West and the Spaces In-Between: ‘Cultural Intimacy’ in Greek Literature About the 1923 Greco-Turkish Population Exchange.” Breaking Boundaries: Reimagining Borders in Migrant and Postcolonial Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, 3 September 2021.
- “The Future of Migration: Perspectives from the Grey Areas.” (Panel Discussion) In-Sight Collaborative, 9 December 2021.
- “At Home or Out of Place: Imagining the Migrant.” (Panel Discussion) Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, 11 February 2022.
- “Memories of Imvros: Mapping Belonging on an Aegean Island” Association for the Study of Nationalities Annual World Convention, Harriman Institute – Columbia University, 7 May 2022.
- “Memories of Imvros (1990–2010): Navigating ‘Lived Space’ in the Ancestral Homeland” MOVES End-of Project Conference, Free University of Berlin, 16 June 2022.
- “Chasing the Past: Homeland Nostalgia and Return Aspirations in Divided Cyprus”, Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 16 (1): 82-104.