Vassiliki Kaisidou

Vassiliki Kaisidou

Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: From personal experience to the cultural archive: The memory of the Greek Civil War and its legacies across generations 

Supervisor: Professor Dimitris Tziovas

Qualifications

  • 2015-2016: M. St Modern Languages (Greek), University of Oxford
  • 2010-2015: BA in Greek Philology (Medieval and Modern Greek Studies), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Biography

From today’s perspective as a PhD student, I could not ignore the influence my undergraduate years had in my interest in (Greek) literature, not only as an artistic expression, but also as cultural narratives that is shaped and shapes our understanding of the world.  Having studied cultural criticism in my final year only strengthened my wish to deepen my knowledge and understanding of literature as a socially and politically embedded phenomenon. 

During my Master’s in Oxford, I took courses on history and national remembrance which familiarised me with the interdependent categories of memory, history, and literature. It was then when I decided to work on the still under-explored topic of the Civil War and; in specific, the literary treatment of the evacuation of children in children homes (the so-called paidopoleis) during the civil unrest.

My MA dissertation provided the theoretical and historical background that inspired my doctoral research, which took a widely cultural dimension, on the grounds of my conviction that literary and autobiographical narratives can be read as equally fictional and ‘authentic’, reconstructing reality in a given cultural moment.

Teaching

  • 20th century Greek fiction

Doctoral research

PhD title
Title of thesis: From personal experience to the cultural archive: The memory of the Greek Civil War and its legacies across generations (1974-2014)
Supervisor
Professor Dimitris Tziovas
Course
Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

Research

My thesis looks at the cultural and personal transmission of the memory of the Greek Civil War in the narratives of different generations after the transition to democracy, (the so-called Metapolitefsi). This thesis draws attention to the ways in which life and fictional narratives engage in the intricate interplay between public and private remembrance, especially with regards to the complication or subversion of hegemonic narratives—although this is not always the case. I am concerned with generations’ distinct practices of remembering and forgetting over time. In particular, I look at the shift of the collective memory from the survivors' and/or witnesses' story-telling and testimonial literature to cultural remembrance, fictional reconstruction, and in some cases inter-generational transmission of memories of a past to which one has no experiential connection. Thus, what is explored here is how the ways in which the civil conflict is recollected changes when the mode of remembrance is converted from lived experience (generations who witnessed wartime) to mediated memory (the postgenerations of the war).

My broader research interests include the 20th and 21st century Greek social history and culture, with a focus on the Greek Civil War and its legacies, and its multiple parallels with the Spanish paradigm. I am also interested in the new interpretive channels opened by literary and cultural theory when combined with the study of modern and contemporary Greek literature. Methodologically, I am trust that gender studies, as well as memory and trauma studies, when applied cautiously, can unveil previously hidden aspects, and power dynamics inscribed in written and oral narratives.

Other activities

  • Research funding:

2018: George Papaioannou Fellowship, The American School of Classical Studies 

2016- 2019: AG Leventis Foundation Research Scholarship

2015-2016: Heath Harrison PGT Studentship for MSt Modern Languages in the University of Oxford

2011-2014: Papadakis Bequest for BA in Philology 

  • Selected conference presentations:

Lived Experiences and the Archival Turn: (Post)memories of the Greek Civil War and its Aftermath in Modern Greek Culture (1974-2014) — 8th Biennial Hellenic Observatory PhD Symposium on Contemporary Greece and Cyprus, London School of Economics (LSE), 1 July 2017.

From the Crisis to the Metamorphosis: Past, Trauma and Loss in Christos Oikonomou’s Kati tha ginei tha deis and Dimosthenis Papamarkos’s MetaPoesis —Postgraduate Workshop Renegotiating History in light of the 'Greek Crisis', University of Oxford, Oxford, 17 March 2016.

A Prisoner of war’s story and National Narrative: Greekness and Otherness in Douka’s work —International Conference on Modern Greek Language, Literature, History and Civilization “Modern Greek Queries”, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, 16-18 April 2015.

  • Administrative duties:

Organiser, ‘Hurt and Healing: people, texts, and material culture in the Eastern Mediterranean’, University of Birmingham, 4 May 2018 

The 19th postgraduate colloquium organised by students of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham. 

Organiser and Convenor of the 2018 Postgraduate Colloquium for Modern Greek Studies, ‘Exploring crises in the modern Greek World: cultural narratives, identity politics, social life’, University of Birmingham, 4 May 2018 

Student-led workshop organised under the auspices of the Society for Modern Greek Studies (UK) and the College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham. 

  • Academic service

09. 2017 – Present: Student Representative, Society for Modern Greek Studies (UK)

06. 2017 – 09. 2018: General Editor of Diogenes Journal: Postgraduate journal published at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham

Publications

  • Forthcoming in 2019). “The afterlives of Queen Frederica’s camps in contemporary Greek fiction.” In Trine Stauning Willert and Gerasimus Katsan (Eds.), Re-Telling the Past in Contemporary Greek Literature, Film, and Popular Culture, Lexington Books 
  • 2017. “Behind crime and depravity: Moral ambiguity and social constructions of evil in contemporary Greek detective fiction.” Anthropino (5):118-28.
  • 2017. “Έμφυλες ταυτότητες και σχέσεις εξουσίας: αλλοεθνείς γυναίκες στη Λέσχη και τη Μεγάλη Χίμαιρα.” In Pre-Conference Meeting of Postgraduate Students on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Greek Department of the D.U.Th. “Identities: Language and Literature”, Komotini, October 8, 2015, 481-98. Komotini: Saita Press.