[MGSA-L] Modern Greek Seminar: Tatjana Aleksić and Patricia Felisa Barbeito discuss Elias Maglinis' novel _The Interrogation_, at Columbia University, Hamilton 617B, on Wednesday March 5th, 6:30 p.m.

Evangelos Calotychos ec2268 at columbia.edu
Mon Mar 3 07:57:15 PST 2014


> The Modern Greek Seminar
> at the University Seminars Program
> 
> & The Program in Hellenic Studies,
> 
> Columbia University
> 
> invite you to
> 

>  A SEMINAR ON ELIAS MAGLINIS’ NOVEL THE INTERROGATION
>  with
> 
>  
> TATJANA ALEKSIĆ
> 
>  (University of Michigan)
> 
>  “Performing the Real of History”
> 
>  &
> 
> PATRICIA FELISA BARBEITO
> 
> (Rhode Island School of Design)
> 
>  “Flaying Alive: The Body As Site Of Resistance In Elias Maglinis’s The Interrogation”
>  
> On Wednesday, March 5th
> 
> At 6:30 p.m., Hamilton Hall 617B
> 
>  
> 

> ABSTRACTS
> 
>  Performing the Real of History
> 
> Tatjana Aleksić
> 
> My presentation focuses on the relationship between the body and forces of social repression and the meaning behind the performative body’s graphic violation of its own integrity. One aspect of my paper discusses the relationship between history and the body, which becomes the object that suffers mutilation and other forms of physical abuse as permanent inscription of the historical text, a history book of sort. My sources for this discussion will be the novel of powerful graphic imagery, Η ανάκριση (2008) by Elias Maglinis, as well as some of the key performances of the controversial Yugoslav performance artist Marina Abramović. My other concern will be the brutality against bodies in the recent historical events in the Balkans (the Greek junta, the Bosnian war) and the strategies of survivors’ coming to terms with these events, including the conspicuous silence about the degrading treatment and suffering.
> 
> 
> The novel’s protagonist, Marina, who is to a degree modeled on the Yugoslav performance artist Marina Abramović, embarks on a mission to liberate her father, who underwent systematic beating and rape in the prisons of the junta, from his nightmarish past about which he remains silent. Persecution and suffering seem to be hereditary in Marina’s family, with her communist grandfather tortured, imprisoned, and banished during the civil war of 1946-1949. The body is treated as the ultimate signifier of history on which torture, rape, mutilation, and other forms of violation leave permanent inscriptions that become the body’s only identity. Marina’s brutalization of her own body in performance is a reaction to her father’s silence about this shameful chapter of Greek history, as well as an attempt to relive traumatic survival stories. However, all attempts to re-perform history fail, both because art is incapable of recreating the horror but also because the survivor is never a true witness to history. The enforced silence about the past in turn further perpetuates the vicious cycle of horrors, which keeps trapping new generations in its incessant circles. Marina’s performances correlate with those of her real life model, Marina Abramović, who throughout her long career exhibited this ritual victimization of the body by traumatic family and national history.
> 
>             In my discussion I will utilize the theory of psychoanalysis in defining the disciplinary treatment of the body in the process of human subjectivation and subjection to authority, but also in delineating the survivor’s response to the traumatic kernel (or the Real) of history. My paper also reflects on the idea of the survivor’s silence in the face of historical trauma, and whether an open dialogue about the past could help prevent traumatic recurrence of history.
> 
>  
> Flaying Alive: The Body As Site Of Resistance In Elias Maglinis’s The Interrogation.
> 
> Patricia Felisa Barbeito
> 
>  The Interrogation is a novel predicated on the performing body in two related senses: a body on which violence is performed, inscribed, authoritatively imposed, but also a body that performs violence in order to reconstruct itself in new and vital ways.  This presentation focuses on how the novel negotiates this reversal: how the trope of flaying alive becomes a strategy for staying alive.  Indeed, the text is structured around repeated images of skin and skinning (borrowing under the skin, investigating the body’s inner depths) as a type of contact zone that ultimately reworks notions of power, subjectivity, identity, history, and narrative.  This focus on skin thus wrests the body from its long history as a site of subjection (what is looked at, acted upon, written about and represented) and, in true performative fashion, counterinvests it with the power to resurrect, reanimate, rewrite.  The interplay between surface and depth, subjection and resurrection is therefore also, necessarily, metafictional: it both points to the omissions and silences in the historical novel, while turning Maglinis’s novel itself into a performative piece. 
>  
>  
> BIOS:
> 
> Tatjana Aleksić is Associate Professor of South Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Sacrificed Body: Balkan Community Building and the Fear of Freedom, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013. She is also editor of the volume Mythistory and Narratives of the Nation in the Balkans (2007). Additional publications include articles on nationalism, gender, language, and myth and translations into Serbian of short fiction, haiku, and medical textbooks.
> 
> Patricia Felisa Barbeito received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard University and is currently Professor of American Literatures at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she teaches courses on race and ethnicity.  Focusing on the intersection of literature and race/ethnic politics, her publications on both American and Greek literature have appeared in a variety of journals, including American Literature, The Journal of American Culture and the Journal of Modern Greek Studies.  She is co-translator (with Vangelis Calotychos) of Menis Koumandareas’s Their Smell Makes Me Want to Cry (The University of Birmingham Modern Greek Translations, 2004), and translator of The Interrogation (Birmingham Modern Greek Translations, 2013), as well as shorter pieces by Vasilis Gkourogiannis and Sotiris Dimitriou for the online international literature journal, Words Without Borders.   Her translation of Maglinis' novel was the 2013 winner of the Elizabeth Constantinides Translation Award. She is currently working on a book about the African-American author Chester Himes titled, One Jump Ahead of Disaster:  The Politics of Race, Interracial Sex, and Literary Style in Chester Himes’s Writing.
>  
> __________________________________________________________________
> 
> For those interested in reading the book in Greek or in English, please see:
> 
>  
> http://www.biblionet.gr/book/136066/Η_ανάκριση
> 
>  
> 
> http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bomgs/research/modern-greek-translations.aspx
> 
> 

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