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This is the 15th session of the Decolonising Europe Lecture Series. In this session we turn our gaze towards Greece. What is the relationship between the Greek nation-state and Europe’s colonial genealogies? How has Greece co-constituted the European colonial project? What does it mean to decolonize Hellas?

Event details of Decolonising Europe #15: Decolonising Hellas
Date 16 June 2021
Time 16:00 -17:00

The bicentennial of the Greek Revolution coincides with contemporary world revolts and renewed struggles against the colonial legacies of white supremacy, nationalisms and racial capitalism.

The Greek nation-state has long been described as the “cradle of Western civilization” and “birthplace of democracy”, its 1821 uprising lauded as the first national revolution in Europe. In these formulations, Europe and the West, are assumed to be synonymous with progress, rationality, justice and freedom. Yet, for decades now, anticolonial struggles and decolonial/postcolonial theory have critiqued capitalist exploitation, nationalist divisions, genocidal violence, white patriarchy, antisemitism and Islamophobia as essential features – indeed the very material and ideological basis – of Europe.

The initiative Decolonize Hellas foregrounds the ambivalent and reciprocal relations between the Greek nation-state and Europe’s colonial genealogies. While Greece has been analyzed in the past as a “colonial scheme”, “crypto-colony” and, recently, as a “debt-colony”, it is urgent to foreground the role of “Hellas” in co-constituting the European colonial project.

In this episode, Beste İşleyen is joined by Dimitris Bouris and they interview  Nikolas Kosmatopoulos (AUB) and Despina Lalaki (City University New York), funding members of the collective of the Decolonize Hellas initiative. This event is co-organized by ACES and Decolonize Hellas. Please follow the group Decolonize Hellas on Facebook and Twitter for existing debates and collaborations on the topic.

About the speakers

Nikolas Kosmatopoulos is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He studies international policy institutions, focusing on expert politics, epistemic violence, techno-morals, the cosmopolitanisms of humanitarianism and peace, and the cosmopolitics of solidarity and political equality. This year, as a member of the Institute for Advances Study in Princeton, he is completing a monograph on violence and expertise in peacemaking and crisis prevention in post-war Lebanon.

Despina Lalaki is an Adjunct Associate Professor at City University of New York. This year she is also Marilena Laskaridis Visiting Research Fellow in Modern Greek Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She is a historical sociologist interested in long-term social and cultural changes, changing modes of consciousness, the ideological and cultural foundations of the state and the role of intellectuals. Currently, she is working on a book project in which she investigates the ways American policies of economic liberalism and capitalist democracy invested symbolically in Hellenism radically transforming it in the process.


About the Series

What is Europe’s place in the world in 2020? Both societal and academic debates have brought up this question. Increasingly, scholars have turned to decolonial studies to rethink Europe’s place and to answer this important question. The call for decolonisation has opened up diverse reactions and debates from various academic disciplines. This online series provides an opportunity for engaging with scholars and academic debates in decolonialism, and to reflect and learn more about a variety of approaches and topics. During the online seminars we will address questions such as:  What does ‘decolonising Europe’ mean? Why and how did the decolonialising research agenda emerge? What new research avenues do decolonial approaches bring? In what ways does decolonial thinking make visible academic and societal issues and topics that have not received adequate attention so far? How can we work with decolonial methodologies and theories in our daily research activities?

The series will cover interventions by academics from institutions around the world to critically engage with our understanding of Europe. There is opportunity to engage with established scholars in this field, explore decolonial literature and research, and to reflect on the broader societal and political stakes of rethinking Europe’s place in the world.

See here the overview of all the lectures (link)

Series conveners: Beste İşleyen and Tasniem Anwar

If you want to stay updated on the Lecture Series you can follow ACES on Twitter and on Instagram.

You can also register for the special newsletter to receive an additional reading list for each lecture, a word by the organisers and updates on the rest of the series.