News & Activities

Announcement of results regarding the 6th Public Call for research proposals for the year 2021

13 January 2021

The Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) happily announces the results of its 6th Public Call for Funding Research Proposals to be pursued in the year 2021.

After completing the evaluation process based on reports by scholars from Greek and other Universities and Research Centers, the research proposals that will be funded by RCH are the following (in alphabetical order under the surname of the applicant and presented according to the funding category):

 

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

  • Konstantina Andrianopoulou, Post-doctoral Researcher in History, Panteion University (Greece)

“Contested futures: Greek-Ottoman refugee children and demographic engineering at the end of the Ottoman Empire (1914-1922)”

Summary:

The proposed research concerns the refugee children of the First World War and the Greek-Turkish War of 1919-1922 in the Ottoman Empire. Ιt focuses on those orphan or parentless refugee children who are claimed by the Greek-Orthodox community as its members. The aim of my research is firstly to explore the various relief networks and mechanisms adopted to face the refugee children issue by all the involved parts: the Greek Orthodox community, the Greek and the Ottoman state and the international community (League of Nations). Secondly, my study will focus on the dispute between the rival nation centers, i.e. the turkish state and the Greek-Othodox community, as well as the Greek state, on the ethnoreligious identity and belonging of the refugee children. In addition, I will explore and analyze the discourse articulated and the practices adopted by the agents of antagonistic centers concerning refugee children and their national future.

From mid 19th century the issue of foudlings, destitute and orphan children in the Ottoman Empire is being attributed an immense importance both centrally (by the ottoman state) and on a communal basis. Two basic reasons lead to the creation of a, progressively in time, more and more sophisticated surveillance system of this population group: the govermentality of the reformed bureacracy of modernizing ottoman state and the need to keep together and develop the national bounds and feelings of the people of various ethnoreligious groups in the age of nationalisms. During the period of First World War and the Greek-Turkish War of 1919-1922, the question of demographic data for rival and hostile nationalisms is crucial and clearly reflects on the issue of refugee children. Literally, one can anticipate a battle going on concerning the belonging of these children, who are eloquenlty characterised “little nation martyrs” (εθνομάρτυρες) by the Greek orthodox press of the time. Demographic engineering of antagonistic nationalisms in the a period of total war, i.e. the First World War, will serve as the main theoretical framework of my research.

Moreover, I will address the relation of war to childhood, including thus the topic of ottoman refugee children of the First World War in the international historiographic paradigm. Lastly but very importantly, by reading through the lines of the archival material, I will shed light to the lives and personal strategies of the refugee children themselves. By doing so, I will stand critical at the dominant discourse of the period, that presented these children as mere victims of the circumstances. By decomposing their mediated voices, I will approach them as acting individuals with personal agendas, that might differ from the imposed rule.

The topic of war refugee children and the rivalry between the Ottoman state and the Greek Orthodox community is an unexplored research field, which will shed light from a new perspective to the history of national rivalry during the First World War as well as to the historiography of the Greek Orthodox community of the Empire. Finally, it directly relates to the birth of notions, legal status and practices such as humanitarian aid, refugee, unaccompanied orphan/parentless children that are unfortunately important current problems.

 

  • Sofia Katopi, Post-doctoral Researcher in Art History, Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS) (Greece)

“Τhe Great Powers and the fate of the Venetian monuments of Crete in the beginning of the 20th century”

Summary:

The very interesting architectural environment left in Crete by the Venetian domination (1211-1669) was still visible in the beginning of the 20th century. In the following years though, in the name of modernization, development and progress, many of the Venetian monuments in the historical centers of the Cretan cities were demolished before their significance as historic monuments was acknowledged.

Archival sources preserve evidence that some of the demolitions that took place during the Cretan Autonomy period (1898-1913) were carried on by representatives of the Great Powers who were in Crete at the time as “protective” powers. However, one of those Powers, the Italians, considered those monuments part of their own national heritage, testimonies of their own glorious past and the attacks against them as “hostile acts of great barbarism”.

Whilst many publications concerning the attitudes of the representatives of the Great Powers towards the Cretan antiquities have surfaced during the recent years, almost nothing has been published about the ways the Great Powers’ representatives dealt with the Venetian monuments of the island. The aim of the proposed research is to fill this gap regarding the reception of the Venetian architectural heritage by the Great Powers and their role in shaping the urban landscape of Cretan cities during the early years of the 20th century. It is therefore necessary to meticulously research the Archive of the Cretan Autonomy, the minutes of Municipal Council meetings and the local Press in order to locate evidence that illuminates the ways in which the Great Powers approached the Venetian monuments and the ways in which the Cretan governments and the inhabitants of the cities became involved in the same issues. The research aims to provide answers to questions about the rhetoric used to justify their removal from the cityscape, the reception of the Venetian past and its claim by the Italians and the impact of all this on the monuments themselves. In addition, information will be provided on the effort to restore the Venetian Loggia of Candia during the years 1911-1916. The role of the Italians in this effort, as well as the local government of Heraklion will be examined through the publication of archival material located in the Archaeological Service of Venice.

 

  • Alexandros Teneketzis, Post-doctoral Researcher in Art History, University of the Aegean (Greece) and University of Thrace (Greece)

“Real Socialism’s memory in Germany 30 years later: Exhibition policy of the German Historical Museum and the processing of public monuments of the former Eastern Germany”

Summary:

The history of the temporary exhibitions and of the permanent collection in the German Historical Museum, which was founded only months before the Fall of the Wall, their rationale and their reception, provide an exemplary field of research to understand public history of Cold War era and the management of public memory in post-1989 Germany. Our project is interdisciplinary, as it will not only study the exhibitions and collections per se, but through them will examine the political use of the recent past, the state memory policies and their public display. It is also transnational, as we intent to proceed into a comparative study of similar issues in Europe before and after the end of Cold War. Our proposal intents to study the interplay of museology, art history, commemorative practices and public history.

The purpose of the research proposal is:

a) to explore the policies of the memory of communist past in Germany as presented at the German History Museum in Berlin, through the dozens of periodical exhibitions held since 1989 and through the permanent collection, opened to the public in 2006. Our proposal focuses on the building of a historical narrative, of a ‘collective’, public, national or official memory.

b) to investigate which aspects of the memory of Real Socialism and 1989 anniversary were acceptable to become visible in public art exhibitions commissioned by the German state and to examine and analyze museum’s contribution to the formation of a common German identity within an European context, but also to the simultaneous integration of the citizens of the former East Germany,

c) to examine whether this official German memory policy goes along with the official handling of monuments and buildings in the German Democratic Republic, such as the former parliament in Berlin and the Humboldt Forum,

d) to study whether the German commemorative politics converge or diverge with the European Union’s memory policies, concerning a european identity as the latest is displayed primarily in the newly built “House of European History” and the planned European Monument to the Victims of Holocaust in Brussels.

 

  • George L. Vlachos, Dr of History, European University Institute (EUI) at Florence (Italy)

“An Environment in Transition: The Philippoi marshes and their reclamation, 1913-1940”

Summary:

This project will examine the environmental history of the Philippoi Marshes -a wetland system located in Eastern Macedonia- and will focus on the land reclamation project that turned the marshes into arable land. The main goal of this project will be to highlight the social effects that this reclamation had on the national and economic integration of southern Macedonia into the Greek nation-state.

The Philippoi Marshes extended the southern part of the plain of Drama covering an area of 35m2. After southern Macedonia was ceded to Greece, the marshes often became the subject of complaints from state agronomists who had settled in the sent there by the Greek state to oversee and facilitate the intensification and modernization of the Macedonian agriculture. The first discourses regarding the reclamation of the marshes emerged immediately after the annexation of southern Macedonia. However, the lack of available capital on part of the Greek government as well as the precarious international diplomatic situation from 1913 to 1922 postponed any serious attempt to implement such a project. The attitude changed rapidly with the Treaty of Lausanne and the massive population exchange of 1923, after which it became clear the available arable land would not suffice to meet the settlement and sustenance needs of the Orthodox refugees of Asia Minor, many of whom ended up resettling in the province. Despite the pressing needs, the public works in the Philippoi Marshes took place only in the first years of the 1930s, as part of the agricultural modernization program of the Venizelos administration. The land-reclamation was carried out by the Monks-Ulen company, which was already known to the Greek government due to previous infrastructure projects that it had undertaken. When the works were finally completed, the dried-up marshes were made into arable land that was subsequently granted to Orthodox refugees as well as native Macedonians.

In this historical context, this project will not only consider the land reclamation of the Philippoi Marshes as a hydraulic engineering project but also as a process that included social engineering policies. This means this project will also explore the issue as a platform on which the concepts of economy, nationalism and modernization intertwined. Its ultimate goal will be to investigate whether this land reclamation could fit in the context of the resettlement/colonization policies that were implemented in southern Macedonia that aimed at securing the province and incorporate it as an integral part of the Greek state through an environmental project that consolidated the economic prevalence of refugees in the area.

 

RESEARCH GROUPS

  • Dimitris Kamouzis, Dr of History, King’s College London (UK), Researcher at the Centre for Asia Minor Studies (Greece)
  • Charalampos Minasidis, PhD candidate in History, The University of Texas at Austin (USA)
  • Alexandros Makris, PhD candidate in History, University of Athens (Greece)

“Greek Soldiers, War and Trauma: The Asia Minor Campaign and the Consequences of a Painful Experience”

Summary:

The aim of this research project is to provide a critical historical analysis of the Asia Minor campaign of 1919-1922 through the study of the wartime trauma and its impact on the Greek soldiers who participated in the war. To this end the scope of the research will be twofold: The first part will reconstruct the multifarious painful experiences of the Greek troops in Asia Minor, whereas the second will focus on the rehabilitation and social reintegration challenges these war veterans faced in Greece throughout the interwar period.

The Greek-Turkish war proved to be a severe traumatic experience with numerous and intense physical and emotional challenges for the Greek soldiers. The first section of the proposed research will focus on the soldiers’ subjective experiences and based on their narratives will examine their physical and emotional reactions. To this end it will trace their psychological changes as these were conditioned by weariness, alienation, homesickness, the concern about their families’ wellbeing and the loss of their brothers-in- arms. It will also present the consequences of the soldiers’ exposure to state coercion, adverse conditions, illnesses, captivity and violent death, while at the same time approach the issue of the inevitable dehumanization of a significant portion of them, which transformed them into perpetrators or bystanders of ethnic violence and war crimes.

The experience of the war did not end with the termination of hostilities and demobilization but accompanied many veterans throughout their lives. The healthcare, rehabilitation and social integration of the ex-servicemen, both able-bodied and disabled, constituted one of the major challenges of the interwar period. One of the objectives of this research is to investigate how the state apparatus – and partly private initiative – undertook the healthcare of this new social category. In this context, it will examine the various attitudes formed within the veterans’ circle with regards to the effectiveness of the welfare mechanisms developed in order to address this issue. At the same time, it will attempt to bring to the foreground the image of the “veteran” as this was shaped in the public discourse of the time – veteran publications, protest letters, press articles, literature, photographs and memorial events – by placing special emphasis on the family, social and economic impact of the physical and psychological trauma. The project will draw material from a wide array of primary sources, published material of the period and secondary bibliography.

 

  • Dimitris Economou, Composer, Dr of Music studies, School of Fine Arts, University of Thessaloniki
  • Georgios Papadelis, Professor on Musical Acoustics and Informatics, University of Thessaloniki

“Composing Music for Cochlear Implant Users: Reconsidering Fundamental Principles of Musical Composition and Orchestration”

Summary:

A Cochlear Implant (CI) is an electronic device that is surgically implanted to restore hearing in individuals with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Due to the technological limitations of these devices, a distorted spectral detail of the sound and a reduced dynamic range is transmitted to the auditory system, which in turn impairs the perception of sounds severely. As a consequence, Cochlear Implant users experience difficulties with processing complex sounds and find music challenging to access.

From the music composer’s perspective, an intriguing question that arises is how to find promising means in the compositional procedure, to facilitate music enjoyment and understanding for CI listeners. In this context, the main aim of this research is to reconsider the fundamental principles of musical composition and orchestration and propose a grammar of adapted ones that takes into account the limitations of hearing in CI users. As a result, a system can be formulated, which will include a set of rules and provide useful practices to compose music for CI users that could be effectively used either for educational or cultural purposes. Based on this system, a multi-instrument musical piece is subsequently written and presented to diverse groups of CI users. This process is finally followed by a focused questionnaire study to assess and evaluate the potential of the proposed system to improve a CI user’s aesthetic experience when listening to music.

  • Burcu Taşkin, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, Istanbul Medeniyet University
  • Utku Özer, Post-doctoral Researcher in Political Science and History, Panteion University

“Political Rights and Behavior of the Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey under the High Polarized Politics”

Summary:

The aim of this proposal is to examine how do the non-Muslim minorities in Turkey, develop new ways to protect and enjoy their minority rights since 2013 in a politically atmosphere polarized between the incumbent and opposition parts and now reflected to the electoral alliances.

Considering the increasing political polarization in Turkey since 2013 mainly constructed on identities due to the several political and social events such as Gezi Events, terrorist bombings, presidential elections and military uprising, this research focuses on the political behavior of the non-Muslim minorities in Turkey to understand how they develop creative solutions in protecting their collective and individual rights. How do the minority communities perceive the increasing political polarization which targets them ‘the other’ twice and limits their room for political participation to express their rights and demands?

The fact that there are minority deputies with different party tickets in the Turkish parliament since 2015 makes this research crucial to explore the political behavior and preferences of the minority groups through face-to-face interviews with each communities’ prominent actors (politicians, journalists, academics) and surveys with the group members to acknowledge whether they prefer to align with the pro-Islamist incumbent party; have a block vote for the secular parties which are more close to their life-style; or vote for the parties that nominate minority candidates.

Besides recording the effectiveness of the minority deputies in terms of their fieldwork in the Turkish assembly, interviews to be conducted with the minority deputies also aim to enlighten the discourse these communities adopted: demand for the collective rights of the minority groups or a struggle for general political and civic rights considering the whole society- especially the opposition. The proposed research will also measure the impact of Turkey’s recent bilateral tensions with the minority groups’ kin-states (namely Greece, Armenia and Israel) and president Erdoğan’s much debated policies such as reopening of Hagia Sophia and Chora museums as mosques in summer 2020 on these communities’ attitudes towards the Turkish state.