"The Cultural Politics of American Relief Efforts in Greece"
Proposal for a Special Issue of Ex-centric Narratives: Journal of Anglophone Literature, Culture and Media (The Journal of the Hellenic Association of American Studies)
The Cultural Politics of American Relief Efforts in Greece
Gary Bass argued In Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention that humanitarian efforts in the modern sense started during the Greek War of Independence. William St. Clair, in That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the Greek War of Independence pointed out that Dr. Samuel Howe did more for Greece when he persuaded his fellow Americans to send food and supplies to the Greeks than all of the money, guns, and ammunition that were sent by the London Greek Committee. Yet, as Bass also observes in his book, it is difficult to know precisely where the lines are drawn between Humanitarianism and Imperialism. In the history of American relief in Greece, there was always a tendency to tie aid to a desire to demonstrate how to create self-sufficiency in an American way. One could argue that Greece became more Western than other Eastern European nations because humanitarian assistance pushed it in that direction. Taken to an extreme, this view could lead one to say that American assistance and European austerity had something of the same effect in that it forced an independent nation to give up some of its independence in return for needed assistance.
At a time when critical questions of humanitarian relief are front and center, we think it would be valuable to look at the cultural politics of past relief efforts. American relief efforts toward Greece can be traced back to the Greek War of Independence when individual Americans sent food and supplies in support of the Greek cause. Years later, in the 1920s, the Near East Relief and the Red Cross were active in the aftermath of World War I and the Asia Minor disaster. After World War II, Greece was assisted by the Marshall Plan as well as by non-governmental organizations. At a time when critical questions about the essence and purpose of humanitarian relief seem more pertinent than ever, we think it would be valuable to explore the cultural politics of the American humanitarian intervention in Greece. It could be argued that in the course of the two hundred years since the birth of the Modern Greek state, Greece has been a constant recipient of humanitarian relief aid which greatly affected the formation-process of the Greek national identity and consciousness.
This volume welcomes papers that examine the sociopolitical context and the cultural nuances of the various phases of the American relief efforts in Greece and offer multiple perspectives. We are interested in papers that explore the policies of the relief efforts and the emerging power relations between Greece and the United States, the blurring of humanitarian and imperial intentions, the American and Greek newspaper and media coverage, the anthropological aspect and the sociological impact of the humanitarian aid for both the Greeks and the Americans involved, the literary response and artistic representation.
Papers may address:
-the effect of relief efforts on society in Greece
-the effect of relief efforts on the politics and economics of the Greek state
-the effect of relief efforts on Greek mobility
-the global aims of American relief efforts in Greece
-the cultural effects of relief efforts
-the reaction to relief efforts by those opposed to US aims within and outside of Greece
-the effect of American relief efforts within the Mediterranean region
-Greek Americans and their role in American relief efforts
-Greece, the Asia Minor exchange, and Near East Relief
-Greece, the Balkans, and the Marshall plan
-the role of philhellenism in relief efforts for Greece
The deadline for abstracts is November 15, 2021.
The length of the abstract should be between 150-180 words.
Your abstract submission should include:
• author contact information
• affiliated institution
• keywords (4-5)