Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Griffon 10: Archaeology of Xenitia

I have just received my hard copy of The New Griffon 10, a special issue dedicated to the archaeology of the Greek American experience. I encourage all readers of this blog to order a copy or have their libraries order a copy. The New Griffon is the journal of the Gennadios Library. In Greece, the journal should be available at major bookstores. In the UK and the USA, you can buy the book through the David Brown Book Co. It costs only $15 and I hope it's worth it.

The Archaeology of Xenitia: Greek Immigration and Material Culture, began as a session organized by the Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in Greece Interest Group of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). The papers were presented on January 2008 at the AIA annual meetings in Chicago. This is the first published work of the Medieval Post-Medieval Group and I'm quite proud of it.

ABSTRACT: Between 1900 and 1915, a quarter of the working-age male Greek population immigrated to the United States, Canada, and Australia. This profound demographic phenomenon left an indelible mark on Greek society, but also created new diasporic communities in the host countries. Greek immigration is a phenomenon of modern trans-nationalism that shares features with other migration stories despite its unique ethnic manifestations. Xenitia, as a historical narrative, has been studied by various disciplines, entering the popular mainstream through movies, comedy, television, academia, museums, and culinary institutions. The historical enterprise of Greek immigration in the 20th century, however, has lacked a significant archaeological voice. In this volume, new archaeological data from Epeiros, Kythera, Keos, the Southern Argolid, and the Nemea Valley highlight the effects of emigration, while data from Colorado, Philadelphia and Sydney illustrate the effects of immigration. Abandoned households were coupled with new foundations, while a fluid transmission of moneys and resources created networks of goods and meanings far more complex than the traditional model of assimilation, economic prosperity, or the melting-pot. Greek archaeology played a double role in constructing native and foreign ideologies, ranging from church foundations in the 1920s Greek community in Philadelphia to film productions for the war relief effort in the 1940s. Finally, we see how excavated ruins inform current narratives of discovery and homecoming in a granddaughters memoir that layers personal and textual lives with a rebuilt house. Such meta-narratives (factual and idealized) reveal deep entanglements between archaeologist and immigrant.

Introduction (Kostis Kourelis)
The Ruins of Engagement: Rural Landscapes and Greek American Immigration (Susan Buck Sutton)
Household Archaeology in Australia and Kythera: Examples of Two-Way Exchange (Timothy E. Gregory and Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory)
The Ludlow, Colorado, Coal Miners’ Massacre of 1914: The Greek Connection (Philip Duke)
From Greek Revival to Greek America: Archaeology and Transformation in Saint George Orthodox Cathedral of Philadelphia (Kostis Kourelis)
Exploring the Relationship of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens with the Greek Omogeneia in the 1940s (Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan)
Home Again: The Recreation of a House, and a History, in Epeiros (Eleni N. Gage)
Views on “The Archaeology of Xenitia” from the Patrida (Jack L. Davis).

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States