[MGSA-L] Announcing Erγastirio II _ Writing Greek America: Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality

Anagnostou, Georgios anagnostou.1 at osu.edu
Mon Nov 2 12:50:37 PST 2020

Erγastirio: Conversations on Greek America: A Collaborative Public Forum

Writing Greek America: Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality

Language: English

Date: Saturday, December 12

Time: 10am-12pm Pacific time (1-3 EST)

Hosts: Yiorgos Anagnostou and Simos Zenios

Guest Host: Artemis Leontis

This is a conversation on gender and sexuality in stories of Greek American migration. This second meeting of the forum continues the project of promoting the practice of writing and teaching Greek America in the context of multiculturalisn. It will bring together scholars, authors, and cultural producers. The critical perspective attends to patriarchal norms that regulate identity and restrict life choices: how these are experienced, represented, resisted, and possibly overcome.

Our departure point are creative works by two contemporary authors, Joanna Eleftheriou and Annie Liontas, who in different ways probe Greek-American family myths.

To take part in this discussion, please read:

a) Joanna Eleftheriou, “Black Stone,”Erγon (25 August 2019): https://ergon.scienzine.com/article/essays/black-stone

b) Annie Liontas, Let Me Explain You, Simon and Schuster 2015, available in hardback, paperback, e-book, and audible: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Let-Me-Explain-You/Annie-Liontas/9781476789095 (with a reading guide). Please read the whole book if you are able; or at least

  *   Day 10 Chapter 1
  *   Day 9 Chapter 2, Chapter 3
  *   Day 8 Chapter 4
  *   Day 6 Chapter 10
  *   Day 3 Chapter 18
  *   Part II Stavros Stavros Makrakis; Dina Lazaridou; Stavroula Makrakis; Litza Makrakis; The Rebirth of Stavros Stavros Makrakis
  *   Day 2 Chapters 21, 22, 23
  *   Day 1 Chapters 26-Epilogue

c) Recommended viewing / listening

  *   Joanna Eleftheriou, podcast on her new book,This Way Back,https://21in21.co.uk/2020/10/06/podcast-dr-joanna-eleftheriou/<https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/21in21.co.uk/2020/10/06/podcast-dr-joanna-eleftheriou/__;!!KGKeukY!i4My_1bi5E7gHAs5ZtajHshSOugbRGZapcRTVtWCCdLQvEra_8cvq6HdFirxRXLtjYw$>
  *   Annie Liontas reading from and discussingLet Me Explain Youat Strand bookstore:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxAvv5IOMgs<https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxAvv5IOMgs__;!!KGKeukY!i4My_1bi5E7gHAs5ZtajHshSOugbRGZapcRTVtWCCdLQvEra_8cvq6HdFirxKmW1aPQ$>
  *   Annie Liontas interviewed by Katherine Kelaidis at the National Hellenic Museum (August 2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9HRl0pB2Sk

Discussion will take place in two parts

Part 1 (1 hour)

- Introduction by Artemis Leontis (10 minutes)

- Large group discussion based on questions 1-3 (45 minutes + 5-minute break)

Part 2 (1 hour)

- Joanna Eleftheriou and Annie Liontas discuss their craft of writing through, against, and beyond patriarchal norms (25 minutes)

- Small breakout group discussion of questions 4 and 5 with respect to writing, teaching, and public facing work (25 minutes)

- Concluding thoughts (5 minutes)

Please consider these guiding questions:

  1.  Reflect on the representation of immigrants and immigrant children in the two texts. What are the representational strategies, dominant narratives they assume, and questions they raise with respect to gender and sexuality?
  2.  How does patriarchy express itself in the stories? How does patriarchy limit the men and women differently in their struggles to (dis)embody their roles, or in their version of (dis)obedience within the Greek-American family?
  3.  What circumstances generate a loss of words, and how does the language gap align with other chasms in the Greek immigrant story? How does any one of the (female) characters work to overcome the gap? How, through this character, does the story rewrite the Greek immigrant narrative? Consider some of the traditional binding agents (e.g. food, poetry, family or family figures, homeland, filial piety religion feelings, work, education) that serve in the rewriting.
  4.  What for you is a key moment or strategy or intervention in these or other cultural works that intervene in the dominant immigrant narrative? In what way does this open up space for alternative stories that were not previously part of the white ethnic American narrative?
  5.  What is the public audience for this type of work? What is its potential for intervention, in the context of larger, popular, institutional narratives, to reframe and redirect the conversation about Greek America?

Recommended further reading:

     •     Ioanna Eleftheriou,This Way Back (West Virginia University Press, 2020).

  *   Leah M. Fygetakis, “Greek American Lesbians: Identity Odysseys of Honorable Greek Girls,” in Reading Greek America: Studies in the Experience of Greeks in the United States edited by Spyros D. Orfanos, 291–325 (New York: Pella Publishing Co., 2002).
  *   Theodora Patrona, “The Forgotten Female Voices of the Greek Diaspora in the United States,” Journal of Modern Hellenism Vol. 31 (2015), 87–100. https://journals.sfu.ca/jmh/index.php/jmh/article/view/23/25
  *   Sau-ling C. Wong and Jeffrey J. Santa Ana, “Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Autumn, 1999), 171–226.
  *   Margaret McGladfrey, “On Making Academic Feminism More Public,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Summer 2020), 1035–1057.

Participation: Please contact Yiorgos Anagnostou (anagnostou.1 at osu.edu<mailto:anagnostou.1 at osu.edu>) or Simos Zenios (szenios at humnet.ucla.edu) by December 5th if you are interested in participating. Zoom links will be sent a few days prior to the meeting.


Artemis Leontis (C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan)

Yiorgos Anagnostou (Professor, Director of the Modern Greek Program at The Ohio State University)

Simos Zenios (Associate Director, UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture)

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