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Monday, 26 January 2015

Children of Marx, Coca Cola and the Greek colonels? Rethinking student resistance in the long 1960s

Eirini Karamouzi (The A. G. Leventis Fellow on Modern Greece, St Antony's College, Oxford)

On 22 January 2015, SEESOX hosted a seminar entitled ‘Children of Marx, Coca Cola and the Greek colonels? Rethinking student resistance in the long 1960s’ with speakers Kostis Kornetis (University of New York), Eirini Karamouzi (SEESOX) and chaired by Paul Betts (St Antony’s College). Kornetis presented the findings of his recently published book "Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics, and the 'Long 1960s' in Greece", which focuses on the political, social, and cultural history of youthful opposition to the Greek military dictatorship (1967-74). The culmination and the most spectacular of all resistance activities was the student occupation of the Athens Polytechnic in November 1973 - an occupation that lasted three days and came to a bloody conclusion as it was crushed by the regime’s tanks; at least twenty-four people were certified dead and another fifteen went “missing”. If the most emblematic moment in Western European recent protest culture remains 1968, the absolute vertex for later developments in Greece’s political activism were therefore the Polytechnic events of 1973 – paradoxically becoming later on a national “lieu de memoire”. The hegemonic role that this emblematic movement played and continues to play in Greece, renders its close study of paramount importance to understand both the events themselves and their afterlives. The book is innovative and original in the simple fact that is as not as much about the politics of protest, as about the cultural memory thereof, thus promoting a dialogue between private microhistory and public events. By exploring the subjective element in student discourse and action, it looks at the ways in which these identities have changed over time and how individuals look back at their past militancy almost forty years later. Kornetis explicitly underlined during his talk that the aim was not to look only at the facts, but to explore the psychological and symbolic dimension, the unconscious, the imaginary and the projections, the memory distortions and the memory losses of the actors in question.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Beyond Europeanisation: European hegemony versus global influences

Othon Anastasakis (Director of SEESOX; Senior Research Fellow, St Antony's College, Oxford)

On 21 January 2015, SEESOX introduced its Hilary term seminar series entitled “Global South East Europe in a multipolar world” focusing on the region’s engagement with the world beyond Europe, dealing with big regional powers such as Russia or China, and addressing urgent issues such as economic development, energy security, migration or diasporas. The first session was a panel debate which focused on the region beyond europeanisation and its engagement with other global and regional powers. The panel consisted of Othon Anastasakis (Oxford), Spyros Economides (LSE), James Ker-Lindsay (LSEE) and chaired by Kalypso Nicolaidis (SEESOX).

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Critical juncture? Bulgaria after the Snap Poll

The Conference Organising Committee: Rumena Filipova, Ivo Gruev, Ivaylo Iadjiev, and Stanislava Topouzova

On Wednesday, December 3rd 2014, the South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX) programme at the European Studies Centre (ESC), University of Oxford, hosted the first annual Oxford – Bulgaria Conference. The Conference, 'Critical Juncture? Bulgaria after the Snap Poll: Change and Continuity in Politics, Foreign Policy, and the Economy After the 2014 Elections’, was held in the immediate aftermath of the Bulgarian parliamentary elections on October 5th, at a time when Bulgaria faced a period of deep reflection on future reforms in the country. The Conference facilitated three specialised panels in the fields of international relations, domestic politics, and energy and economy, and included discussions on core topics of concern, including: the challenge of devising a coherent foreign policy, the outcome of the parliamentary elections, the role of civil society movements in Bulgaria, and the salience of structural and legal reforms in the energy sector. Over the course of the day, researchers, practitioners, professors, and experts alike, assembled together to incisively examine the core issues presented in each panel.