[MGSA-L] the question of Cyprus

Syrimis, George george.syrimis at yale.edu
Sun Mar 31 08:10:00 PDT 2013

Dear Vassili,

It is unfortunate than in addressing the silence on the current Cyprus
crisis your comments resort to technicalities about the use and purpose of
the list that essentially preempt discussion of the crisis. I assume that
your comments were not suggesting that Cyprus is not within the scope of
the "field" or
that it does not merit academic "study" so I will not comment on those

I am, however, perturbed by the presumption that the discussion would not
be academic. There are a number of theoretical angles through which one
could address what has happened in Cyprus, including a Gramscian critique
of the way the Troika--Germany in particular-- is exercising its hegemony
in European economic policy, the adoption of neoliberal banking practices,
the state of Greco-Cypriot relations, geostrategic and energy politics,
the political culture in Cyprus and non-violent public response after the
final bailout/in, Orientalist responses in the international press and
Germanophobia in local media, and many
others. Why can't these questions be covered under "scholarly inquiries
and Š info on research matters"? Is there a meaningful ³field² outside
these topics and their discussion?

What is most puzzling however is the limited, almost prohibitive,
assumption of what constitutes "academic" discourse. I beg to differ that
we must limit ourselves to the announcement of events, bibliographies, and
other Œclinical¹ bulletin-board postings, which must be the minimum of
what a list such as ours should be doing and not its limit. Surely we
cannot wait until books and articles are published on what transpired last
month in order to begin discussion. In addition, academic research and
scholarship originates and germinates in many and varied ways and fora,
and one such fertile ground should be lists such as that of the MGSA.
Academic writing takes many forms from books and articles to reviews,
opinions, and journalistic contributions that bridge the lamentable gap
between academia and public discourse. Many members of this list, and of
the field in general, publish such commentaries, and well they should.
They make the field and its scholarship richer and should be encouraged,
not stifled. And you, perhaps more than anyone else in the field, to your
credit have been in the past a fervent proponent of such agonistic

At times of severe crisis such as what Greece went and is still going
through, and Cyprus is now experiencing, anecdotal accounts are of primary
importance especially for scholars who are not in Cyprus. Anecdotal
evidence is only that until it is published, scrutinized, evaluated and
analyzed so that it can form the basis of future and legitimate
scholarship. We cannot wait for scholarship to emerge ex nihilo. For
starters, we should be vigilant of how the Greek, Cypriot, and
international press are covering the Cypriot crisis on a daily basis. I
honestly do not see how this demeans our academic standards. One of
the complaints of Cypriots is that their case was treated as an
'exception' that required 'exceptional measures.' Surely the MGSA is not
going to 'regulate' debate just now because of some debatable and vague
rules regarding the list's content. There have been numerous discussions
on the list from the Macedonian question, to the rise of Golden Dawn, and
the prospects of Syriza, postings that were for the most part political
rather than academic. Why weren't such standards invoked a few years ago
when Greece was facing similar pressures? Why and how did that discussion
strictly serve "the field of Modern Greek Studies
precisely as a field" and if it did not why did not anyone raise the
issue? Does the possessive "ourŠlist" not include everyone?

George Syrimis

On 3/28/13 3:35 PM, "Vassilios Lambropoulos" <vlambrop at umich.edu> wrote:

>Regarding the absence of a discussion of Cyprus from the list
>it may be worth reminding ourselves that this is the list
>of the Modern Greek Studies Association.
>It is a wonderful and unique list reserved for matters of Modern Greek
>that is, matters of Modern Greek as a *field:*
>announcements of scholarly events and course offerings, of conferences
>and new publications.
>We circulate bibliographic or filmic inquiries, scholarly inquiries and
>in general share info on research matters.
>The list is meant to facilitate research and advance the field
>Most of the time we do not discuss issues, and I for one am very grateful
>for that.
>There are many fora for those interested in Greek issues of all kind, and
>they do a great job.
>Ours is the only list that strictly serves the field of Modern Greek
>Studies precisely as a field.
>Vassilis Lambropoulos 

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