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Panel discussion: Migration and Diaspora, co-organized with the British School at Athens

Strand Campus, London

27 Jan CHS 20

Moderator: Dionysios Stathakopoulos, King’s College London. 

Dionysios Stathakopoulos has been teaching at King's College London since 2005. He read Byzantine and Medieval History at the University of Münster and received his PhD from the University of Vienna. He is a social historian of the Byzantine world and has published widely on epidemics and famines, the practice and practitioners of medicine, charity, poverty and remembrance. His latest book is A Short History of the Byzantine Empire (2014), recently translated in Greek, Turkish and Estonian. He is currently working on a monograph on wealth, consumption and inequality in the late Byzantine Empire and another on the cultural history of the late Byzantine aristocracy.


Giampaolo Salice,: ‘The Alexianos: The "Imperial strategies" of a Diasporic Greek Family (1743-1782)’. 

The Alessianos were a Greek family from the Ottoman city of Monemvasia who settled in 18th century British Minorca. The members of this family where British citizens, Russian consuls, merchants and public officials for the British monarchy at the same time, as they moved between Mahon (strategic commercial hub and the only Mediterranean harbour able to host the British fleet during winter), London (where some of the set up a privateer ship under the British flag), Leghorn (one of the most important free ports for the British) and Russian Empire (that employed them as naval admirals in several naval battles against the Ottoman) and even took place in the British conquest of Havana, Cuba.

This paper will try to firstly to analyse the role played by Alessianos in changing the economic, social and urban framework of the island of Menorca; secondly in allowing exchanges between different cultural and political entities and eventually in the building of new diplomatic and commercial relations between Russian and British empire.

Giampaolo Salice earned his Phd degree in Modern History from University of Rome La Sapienza (2009) and his diploma in paleography and archival science from the State Archive of Cagliari (2005). He worked as visiting fellow at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies at University of London (2011-2012) at the University of Bristol (2010) and Barcelona (2017). At the moment, he is research fellow at the University of Cagliari, where he teaches courses in Early Modern History and runs L.U.Di.Ca., the digital humanities lab of the University of Cagliari. 

His first interests include history of Sardinian and Italian rural elites (17th-19th centuries).  In the last years, Salice started to work on the interdependence between Mediterranean diasporas and internal colonization policies put in place by European State from 16th to 18th century. He devoted to this field of research books, articles and the digital platform available at the link:

Gonda Van Steen, ‘Adoption, Migration, and Cold War Greece: Trips of No Return’

Gonda Van Steen is King’s Koraes Chair and Director of the Centre for Hellenic Studies. Her presentation relates to the subject of her most recent book, Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo?, published by the University of Michigan Press in December 2019.

This book presents a committed quest to unravel and document the postwar adoption networks that placed more than 3,000 Greek children in the United States, in a movement accelerated by the aftermath of the Greek Civil War and by the new conditions of the global Cold War. Greek-to-American adoptions and, regrettably, also their transactions and transgressions, provided the blueprint for the first large-scale international adoptions, well before these became a mass phenomenon typically associated with Asian children. The story of these Greek postwar and Cold War adoptions, whose procedures ranged from legal to highly irregular, has never been told or analyzed before. Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece answers the important questions: How did these adoptions from Greece happen? Was there any money involved? Humanitarian rescue or kid pro quo? Or both?

Maria Rizou, 'History Replaying Itself: Greece and the Policy of Settling Refugees, from the Past to the Present'.

After 1922, approximately 1,500,000 refugees came to Greece from Asia Minor. This refugee influx is well-known in Greek historiography, as the political, social and settlement features of the Asia Minor Catastrophe have been extensively analysed by historians. The economic features, though, as well as the intervention of the League of Nations, Britain and the USA remained unexamined. Unexplored, too, has been the inception of the refugee crisis in Greece, when refugees, who had already settled in the Greek state, started to sign loans with the National Bank of Greece and later on with the support of the League of Nations and the Bank of England. 

Maria Rizou holds a PhD in History from King's College London. She has conducted extensive research on the UK and EU-based data covering governmental and institutional policies used to settle the Asia Minor refugees, as well as the establishment of the European migration policies. In her dissertation, 'The National Bank of Greece and the International Dimension of the Greek Refugee Crisis: 1917-1928', she has also assessed the impact of the refugees on EU economies during the interwar period. She has compared the different economic and social conditions before and after 1922, which enabled a clearer understanding of the Greek refugee crisis during the interwar period. She now links this research to the current migration crisis and its effects (social, political, ideological, economical) in Greece and outlines how settlement migration policies have developed nearly a century later. Dr Rizou is currently an EU Policy Advisor in the Department for International Development, and has previously worked as a Migration Policy Advisor in the Home Office. 

Effie Pedaliu, 'European Stability and Migration'

The refugee crisis of 2015 was manipulated by demagogues and was presented as a migration crisis with dire consequences to the European project and political discourse in Europe. Europe however, needs migrants to mitigate the pernicious effects of its declining and ageing population. Migratory pressures into Europe are unlikely to stop - so how can Europe react and how can migration become less toxic in European political discourse?

Effie G. H. Pedaliu is a Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS having previously held posts at LSE, KCL and UWE. She is a co-editor of the Palgrave/Macmillan book series, Security Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World and a member of the AHRC peer review college. She is the author of Britain, Italy and the Origins of the Cold War, (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2003); co-editor of Britain in Global Affairs: From Churchill to Blair, (Palgrave, 2013) and The Foreign Office, Commerce and British Foreign Policy in the C20th (Palgrave, 2017). 

Emmanouil Pratsinakis, 'Intra-EU mobility and the new Greek emigration'.

Even if the establishment of the right to free movement, employment and settlement across the European Union for Greek citizens in 1988 allowed for unrestricted mobility, this never took the form of a major outmigration. Until recently, Greeks were among the least mobile Europeans. However, this changed drastically following the post 2008 Greek crisis. The combined effects of recession, austerity, and a generalized mistrust towards institutions and disillusionment from the political system have redefined mobility intentions in Greece. Approximately 400,000 Greek citizens left Greece after 2009. This resurgence of large-scale emigration from Greece, has received extensive media coverage. In a rather politicized public discourse emigration is presented as an one-way option for certain population segments, notably the young and the highly skilled, and hence a drain of the most dynamic part of the country’s labour force.

Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected in the context of the Greek Diaspora and the EUMIGRE projects this presentation provides an in-depth assessment of the new emigration within the context of the freedom of movement in the European Union. It further discusses how the crisis in Greece has altered everyday discourse on emigration and loosened up social constraints towards long distance mobility.  The aim of the presentation is to challenge a number of conventional assumptions underlying the way the new Greek outmigration is commonly presented and critically assess the main labels used to describe it namely, brain drain, new migration and crisis-driven migration.

Manolis Pratsinakis is the Onassis Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. He is also Deputy Project Manager of the SEESOX Diaspora project and a research affiliate COMPAS at the University of Oxford. Manolis Pratsinakis was previously a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the University of Macedonia, a visiting fellow at the University of Sussex and a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. His academic interests broadly concern the study of migration and nationalism. He has done research and published on immigrant-native relations, ethnic boundaries and categorization, everyday nationhood, brain drain, and intra-EU mobility in the post 2008 period. Manolis has studied Geography and Sociology (with honors) and completed his PhD in 2013 in Anthropology. His MA studies were supported by a Nuffic Huygens Scholarship and his PhD research by a postgraduate IKY scholarship from the Dutch and Greek state respectively.


CHS 27th jan event speakers. 6 people looking into camera and smiling.
From left to right: Dionysios Stathakopoulos, Giampaolo Salice, Gonda Van Steen, Maria Rizou, Effie Pedaliu, Emmanouil Pratsinakis.

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