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Memory and Postcolonial Studies

Synergies and New Directions


Edited By Dirk Göttsche

In the postcolonial reassessment of history, the themes of colonialism, decolonisation and individual and collective memory have always been intertwined, but it is only recently that the transcultural turn in memory studies has enabled proper dialogue between memory studies and postcolonial studies. This volume explores the synergies and tensions between memory studies and postcolonial studies across literatures and media from Europe, Africa and the Americas, and intersections with Asia. It makes a unique contribution to this growing international and interdisciplinary field by considering an unprecedented range of languages and sources that promotes dialogue across comparative literature, English and American studies, media studies, history and art history, and modern languages (French, German, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian-Croatian, Spanish).

Combining theoretical discussion with innovative case studies, the chapters consider various postcolonial politics of memory (with a focus on Africa); diasporic, traumatic and «multidirectional memory» (M. Rothberg) in postcolonial perspective; performative and linguistic aspects of postcolonial memory; and transcultural memoryscapes ranging from the Black Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, from overseas colonialism to the intra-European legacies of Habsburg, Ottoman and Russian/Soviet imperialism. This far-reaching enquiry promotes comparative postcolonial studies as a means of creating more integrated frames of reference for research and teaching on the interface between memory and postcolonialism.

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Collective trauma, transgenerational identity, shared memory: Public TV series dealing with the Ottoman Empire and Anatolian refugees in Greece (Yannis G. S. Papadopoulos)


Yannis G. S. Papadopoulos

Collective trauma, transgenerational identity, shared memory: Public TV series dealing with the Ottoman Empire and Anatolian refugees in Greece


This chapter discusses the construction of a ‘shared memory’ of the late Ottoman years and the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–22 in Greece, focusing on Public TV series produced in Greece during the last quarter of the twentieth century. These series show traces of the gradual recognition of the refugee trauma and the contribution of Anatolian Greeks to modern Greek culture. Without necessarily contesting preexisting stereotypes, cultural products dealing with these memory themes served as a means of integrating both the Anatolian Greek and the Ottoman, Turkish “other” into popular culture and everyday life.

Introduction: The “Asia Minor Disaster” – from history to memory

In May 1919 Greece received the authorization by the allied victors of World War I to occupy Izmir (Smyrna) with the aim of restoring order and protecting the Christian populations that had suffered persecution by the Ottoman authorities during the war and were still menaced by irregular bands. This marked the beginning of the “Asia Minor Campaign”, in Greek terminology, or the “War of Independence”, as the Turks see it.1 For Greece,←469 | 470→ this war appeared as a step towards the fulfilment of the “Great Idea”, the “manifest destiny” of the Greek nation aiming at the restoration of the Byzantine Empire. On the other hand, Turkish nationalists considered the Greek landing in...

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