Panel Discussion Whose Memory Counts? Colonial Past and Racism in Europe

Rassismus – Podiumsdiskussion am 22. Oktober 2020 im Goethe-Institut Athen: „Wessen Erinnerung zählt? Koloniale Vergangenheit und Rassismus in Europa“ mit Kostis Papaioannou (links), Mark Terkessidis und Athena Athanasiou
© Goethe-Institut Athen
  • 22. October 2020 — 22. October 2020

  • Colonial legacy, Culture of memory, Decolonisation

  • Athen (Greece)

The project “Whose memory counts? Colonial Past and Racism in Europe” poses current political and social questions from the perspective of memory culture and the debate on colonial dependencies within Europe.

Anthropologist Michael Herzfeld once described Greece’s position in Europe as “crypto-colonial”. This term refers to the condition of states that are nominally politically independent but remain dependent in an often downright humiliating manner due to economic interdependencies. In Europe, this problem applied to all the states of the Balkans. Even after their independence from the Ottoman Empire, they were exposed to the intrigues of the European powers, some of which exerted influence on domestic politics at will.

The project Whose memory counts? Colonial Past and Racism in Europe is not primarily concerned with moral questions of guilt or innocence, but seeks instead a new understanding of the web of relationships within the manifold forms of inescapable proximity and partnership. The project calls for a new, expanded politics of memory for Germany, pointing out that cross-border relations are now more important than ever for a country that is increasingly shaped by immigration, integrated into the European Union and embedded in global events in which the past continues to play an important role.

Taking Mark Terkessidis’ (Berlin) latest book Wessen Erinnerung zählt? Koloniale Vergangenheit und Rassismus heute (2019) – i.e. Whose Memory Counts? Colonial Past and Racism Today – as their point of departure, historian Kostis Papaioannou (Athens) and social anthropologist Athena Athanasiou (Athens) highlight connections with the on-going discussion in Greece and Europe. They will address current issues such as the rise of nationalism and racism from the perspective of memory culture and the debate on (post-)colonial dependencies.

A video recording of the panel discussion on 22 October 2020 at the Goethe-Institut Athens is available. Language: German and Greek with English subtitles:

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