A Citizen’s Guide to Greece 2015


April 9, 2012

Gender biography and citizenship

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Written by: pdcadmin
By Maria Kyriakidou

On  March 5, 2012 the Dukakis Center co-hosted a workshop on women’s biographies, life stories and autobiographies. The workshop consisted of panels regarding the research methodology on gender and biography, specific historical examples from a European and South-East European context as well as presentations on local history, with a brief historical account of women’s lives in Thessaloniki.

The workshop is part of a local history project undertaken and internally funded by the American College of Thessaloniki,  which aims to expand knowledge and enhance visibility of a broad variety of aspects of the lives of women as depicted in the context of social relations and historical events during the course of the 20th century.

The case studies presented satisfied the exigencies of auto/biography as a historiographic genre in the field of social and political life: it is through the account of a life, individual or collective, that comprehension about social and historical events and developments can be expanded. A number of experts presented the results of their research in related fields as it is apparent from the attached program. They shared their experience with other colleagues working on gender biographies in a public forum of discussion, proposals and inspiration.

Our ongoing study combines an oral history approach with the analysis of written sources, both primary and secondary. The project is also designed to draw attention to the diverse historical categories and sources which need to be considered in order to understand the economic, social, political and ideological factors which make the female experience distinct.

This workshop was the third one in a series of events devoted to research under the broad theme of gender. The first was an international workshop on gender and migration organized in April 2008 with guest speakers from Greece and the UK as well as migrant women representation in one of the sessions. Throughout the workshop we aspired to bring academicians, migrants and NGOs together into a public forum of discussion and proposals regarding women migrants’ major concerns (e.g., life stories, education, work, family, civil and political action, integration and administrative problems). Recent and current research on migration in Greece was presented and we shared our experience working with migrant women with the rest of the guests.

The second workshop in February 2011 was on gender and citizenship. As hybrid identities are no longer marginal phenomena, a set of flexible, fluid perceptions of citizenship could replace already existing fixed notions. In our contemporary world there is no single way of understanding citizenship. In some respects, there is an increasing urge for the re-prioritisation of social rights and the redefinition of the status of individuals. In addition, attempts towards the formulation of new identities could set the stage for a new kind of civil society. The international make-up of our 2nd workshop’s panels offered an enriched inter-disciplinary view of the issue of citizenship through a gender lens. 

This set of research initiatives on the field of gender aspires to offer further insights into subject matter that, to a large extent, was hitherto limited to the margins of academic research in Greece and the SE European context.

American College of Thessaloniki


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