Coming to terms with forced migration

Hosted by the Hellenic Observatory

SAL.LG.04, Lower Ground, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Dr Marilena Anastasopoulou

Dr Marilena Anastasopoulou


Professor Kevin Featherstone

Professor Kevin Featherstone

This research is a comparative – intergenerational and interregional – history of Asia Minor memories and identities of forced displacement that examines the multilayered relationship between contemporary attitudes and refugee past.

In light of the centenary of the Asia Minor population transfer and the current migration and refugee crises, this study explores refugee memories and identities of expulsion, their intergenerational transmission, and the way people with these memories think about subsequent migrations. While focusing on the case of Greece, the research questions that this studyaddresses are: How have memories of the 1922-24 forced displacement changed over time from one generation to the next? How do people with these memories and identities think about subsequent migration? Following a regional history approach and an oral history approach, this study draws upon literature from several disciplines and rests upon oral testimony. Specifically, it employs a methodology of collecting primary sources using oral testimonies (262 life history interviews) and archival evidence (5000 oral testimonies) based on three regional case studies, namely the borderland island of Lesvos, Central Macedonia in northern Greece, and Attica. Refugee identity is a capacious and dynamic platform of ongoing understanding as well as a limited space of domination and competition. Elucidating the attitudes of refugee descendants and unfolding key patterns about the complex role of refugee memory and identity, this researchbrings together the intersection of three interlocking elements, time (refugee generations), place (refugee locations), and subsequent migration (waves of other migrations). In short, Coming to Terms with Forced Migration sheds light on the convoluted relationship between contemporary attitudes and refugee past, providing a nuanced history of the 1922-24 memories and identities of forced displacement. 

Meet our speaker and chair

Marilena Anastasopoulou a historian of modern migration, is the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the LSE’s European Institute. Her doctoral research, titled ‘Coming to Terms with Forced Migration: An Intergenerational Study of Asia Minor Refugee Memory in Greece’, is a comparative – intergenerational and interregional – history of the 1922-24 memories and identities of forced displacement that examines the multilayered relationship between contemporary attitudes and refugee past. This study has received prestigious awards in the context of academic conferences. Marilena holds a DPhil in History (University of Oxford), an MSc in Migration Studies (University of Oxford), and a BA in Political Science and Public Administration (University of Athens). Marilena has also worked at the University of Oxford as an award-winning Lecturer in History at Pembroke College and the Faculty of History, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (SAME), and a Research Associate of South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), St Antony’s College.

Kevin Featherstone is the Hellenic Observatory Director and Professorial Research Fellow, LSE.

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