Maria Kokkinou: Research & CV

The Europe of Resentment and Rubble: a Confederation of the Vanquished?

Research Area 1 – Displacements, “Dépaysements” and Discrepancies: People, Knowledge and Practices

Maria Kokkinou has recently completed a PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology in the IIAC (Institut Interdisciplinaire de l’Anthropologie du Contemporain) research lab at the EHESS school in Paris. At CEFRES she is a postdoctoral researcher within the TANDEM project entitled “The Europe of Resentment and Rubble: a Confederation of the Vanquished?”.

My PhD thesis focused on the political refugees of the Greek civil war (1946-1949) who fled to Bulgaria. This work aimed, among other objectives, to shed light on the lives of various categories and generations of refugees (including those born in exile), spanning a time period which includes the Cold War and continues long after it ended. The research was based on a multi-sited ethnography in Greece and Bulgaria, and on two types of sources: the archives of the Democratic Organisation for Culture and Education, the DOME, founded in 1962 by the Greek Communist Party officials present in Sofia, and in-depth interviews (life stories) conducted over three generations; refugees, their children and their grandchildren.

However, civil war refugees is not the only displaced population group in modern Greek and Turkish history. In 1923, following the signing of the Lausanne Treaty which dictated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the majority of Orthodox, GreekspeakingTurkish citizens (about 1,2 million people) were forcibly displaced to Greece, a group known in Greek historiography as the ‘Asia Minor refugees’. Conversely, Muslim Greek citizens (about 500,000) were displaced to Turkey. Both the Orthodox and the Muslim populations which were exchanged had already been inhabiting the Ottoman Empire and remained on its fragmented lands even after its dissolution which led to the creation of nationstates.

Even though the Lausanne Treaty deprived the majority of these populations of their place of origin, it eradicated neither the Orthodox element in Turkey nor the Muslim element in Greece, where the descendants of these displaced groups still reside as religious minorities. How did the subjects in both countries experience their forced displacement? With what memories do they associate their place of origin? What emerges when the subjects recall the period of their co-existence? Is it memory, or is it oblivion? How does forced displacement transform memory? How do these ‘minorities’ experience their present coexistence?

Using ethnographic data from in situ observation at the places of both origin and residence of the two minorities, combined with archival material, this research will attempt totrace the role of memory through the experience of displaced populations in two ethnographic areas, Greece and Turkey, where the descendants of these populations still live. The aim is to highlight the place of memory and oblivion in situations of forced movement, by establishing a comparative approach across other examples of forced displacements inscribed in different times and places. For this reason, throughout this post-doctoral research and at various stages of its development, group ateliers with the participation of researchers from both institutions will be pursued, while the completion of the research, along with its publication through articles and edited books, will be presented at a conference.



2019: PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology, EHESS, Paris, France. Instituer l’attente : la DOMÉ et les réfugiés de la guerre civile grecque en Bulgarie (1949-2010) (Institutionalizing expectation : the DOME and the refugees of the Greek civil war in Bulgaria, 1949-2010) Supervisor: Jean-François GOSSIAUX
2007: MA in History and Immigration, EHESS, Paris, France
“Political asylum in Greece, 1975-2005”. Supervisor: Nancy GREEN. Grade: Very Good (16/20)
2004: BA in Social Anthropology and History, University of the Aegean, Greece. Grade: Very Good (7, 5/10)
1997: Apolitirio, (Bacallaureat), Likio Astakou, Aitoloakarnania, Greece


2009-2011: Fieldwork in Bulgaria and Greece.
Research at the Archives of Contemporary Social History (ASKI), Athens, and at the ЦЕНТРАЛЕН ДЪРЖАВЕН АРХИВ (ЦДА), Archives State Agency, Sofia


  • “After Tashkent: ‘Albanophiles’, followers of Zachariadis and of Markos against the ‘orthodox’ Communists and the Greek Communist Party (GCP) in Bulgaria”. (“Μετά την Τασκένδη: ‘φιλοαλβανικοί, ζαχαριαδικοί, και μαρκιακοί’ αντιμέτωποι με τους ‘ορθόδοξους’ κομμουνιστές και το ΚΚΕ στην Βουλγαρία”) Arhiotaxio, journal of ASKI, vol.18, November 2016, pp.24-37.
  • “The political refugees of Greece in Bulgaria after the end of the Civil War (1946 – 1949). On the occasion of an episode in Greek history, a discussion of the term ‘refugee’”, Социологически проблеми, special issue МИГРАЦИИ И МОБИЛНОСТИ2012, n°1-2, pp. 275-292.
  • “How many meters does it take to change a country? Identity, borders and Migration in a Greek Minority village of Albania ”, Proceedings of the 3rd Summer School in Konitsa Balkan Border Crossings, LIT, 2014, p. 215-232
  • “The relationship with the ‘lost homeland’. Ideologies and memories of Greek political refugees in Bulgaria (1949-2010)”, Asylon(s), Expériences migratoires et transmissions mémorielles, N°12, juillet 2014
  • Translation (in Greek) of Maurice Godelier’s book Au fondement des sociétés humaines. Ce que nous apprend l’anthropologie, Albin Michel « Bibliothèque Idées », Paris, (in press 2019)

Conference Presentations

  • 2018: “Extraordinary Childhoods : Routes and experiences of displaced children from the Greek civil war to Bulgaria Presentation at the Symposium organized under the patronage of ECO-SUD, EHESS and IIAC entitled “Figures and displacement of the ‘Foreign’: Management of the bodies, uses of the words”
  • 2018: « Between Experience and Institution During the Cold War: The Refugees of the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) in Bulgaria». Presentation at the 23rd Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN), Columbia University, New York
  • 2017: «The Institutionalization of the Greek civil war refugeedom in Bulgaria. Past and Present». Presentation at the 9th International graduate student conference in Modern Greek studies : « Work in Progress : new approaches » in SEEGER Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, USA
  • 2016: “The Communist refugees in exile in Bulgaria through the prism of autobiography”. Presentation at the seminar: Southeast European societies of nineteenth-XXI century through the prism of individual trajectories (organised by Nathalie Clayer and Xavier Bougarel), EHESS, Paris, France
  • 2015 : Co-organization with Angeliki Drongiti of the multidisciplinary workshop Balkanς for doctoral students and young researchers (financed and supported by the Doctoral School of Social Sciences Paris 8, CSU and IIAC, Paris, France)
  • 2013: “Establishing the expectation of a future life: the case of DOME of the political refugees of the Greek civil war in Bulgaria (1949-2010) ”, Atelier Jeunes Chercheurs of the French School of Athens (EFA), Athens, Greece
  • 2012: Co-organization and participation in the 3rd Doctoral Days of IIAC- EHESS, “Critical Crises: a subject, a posture, a writing in dialogue”, Paris, France
  • 2011: “The “refugee” experience: thoughts on a first outline of a category”. Participation in the Annual Meeting of PhD candidates, organised by the Department of Social Anthropology and History, University of the Aegean
  • 2010: “How many meters does it take to change a country? Identity, Borders-Migration in a Greek minority village of Albania”. Participation in the 5th Konitsa Summer School, Konitsa, Greece
  • 2009: “The adventures of the term ‘Political Refugees’ in the Greek Legislation Concerning Political Asylum (1975-2005)”, 7th International Graduate and Undergraduate Student Conference of the Border Crossings Network, Balkans: The local, the national and the global-anthropological Perspectives, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.