Growing up as a child of first-generation Greek-Australian migrants had countless privileges. But being different from the dominate white demographic was something I did not look too favourably upon, at that time anyway. Whiteness was all over Australian television screens as programmes were mostly British or American imports, with some Australian soaps, drama series or entertainment shows, so it was difficult to feel anything other than different. But when sitcom Acropolis Now (1989–1992) came on Australian TV, I found I could relate to and identify with the on-screen characters, for the very first time. They were mostly working-class, second-generation Greek-Australians – the children of Greek migrants to Australia, and I saw a reflection of my own culture, history, family and difference, which was enormously important for my teenage sense of identity and cultural belonging.
This self-reflexive approach of writing about Acropolis Now, is as important a subject now as it was then. Back then, the show was like a companion, a good friend who would come to visit once a week in small, white, country town Australia. What is more, it came with an imagined community of thousands of other second-generation Greek-Australians who, like me, were trying to make sense of the world and where to fit in it, particularly given we were “white,” but also considered ethnically different. Revisiting the show years later was like reuniting with an old friend, only to discover we had both moved on. What follows is a brief account of this friendship. ... More
The documentary Palikari: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre (2014, Nickos Ventouras) narrates one of the “bleakest and blackest” chapters in American labor history, the Ludlow Massacre.1 A hundred years earlier, on April 20, 1914, in Ludlow, Colorado, a strike for basic labor rights by exploited miners and their families, mostly immigrants, was violently ended by state militia. In the fight, the strikers’ tent colony was machine-gunned and burned to the ground, leaving over twenty people dead, including women and children. Louis Tikas (1886-1914), a Cretan immigrant and union organizer born Ilias Anastasios Spantidakis, was shot in the back in cold blood, as were two other strikers. Still considered a politically volatile event, in fact a dangerous past for the nation laying open the synergy of state and capital to brutally put down labor, Ludlow does not commonly find a place in celebratory official memory. Historians take note of its absence in public history textbooks. However, when Colorado inaugurated the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration in September 2013, a yearlong, statewide remembering of Ludlow, it marked a significant departure, adding an official seal so to speak to remembering what functions as an enduring symbol of working class struggle in the United States.2 ... More
Source: ΧΡΟΝΟΣ online magazine
Vangelis Calotychos’s new book is a study of the negotiations and metamorphoses of images of the Self and the Other in the changing post-1989 contexts of Europe and the Balkans. Read against the background of Greece’s position in the immediate Balkan vicinity as well as within the broader European project, Calotychos analyses how semantics of sameness and difference and their corresponding “gazes” of recognition and distance were generated in Greek society in the late 1980s propelled as much by the shifting contours of the regional and geopolitical contexts as well as by the inflow of mass immigration from neighboring countries. The book’s analytical standpoint is rooted in the tradition of postcolonial studies dealing with the colonization of the imaginary and a strand of research inquiring into the historical contingencies against which the colonization of the mind took place. Taking the year 1989 as a watershed, Calotychos’s central argument claims that the fundamental negotiations in Greek society concerning issues such as modernization and Europeanization were made through and by reference to Balkan themes and contexts of signification, a point that is convincingly argued throughout the whole book. Indebted to cultural studies, Calotychos’ includes in his analysis political and popular discourses, literature and film. His take demonstrates an interdisciplinary engagement and includes next to cultural theory and comparative literature, the social sciences and anthropology, history, politics and psychoanalysis. ... More