Gunnar Hering Lectures


2. April 2019

Gerne weisen wir daraufhin, dass zum 4. Mal am 2. April 2019 um 18.00 eine "Gunnar Hering Lecture" am Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik der Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Wien stattfindet.
Dies ist die vorläufige Ankündigung, Details werden zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt bekannt gegeben. Wir freuen uns auf Ihr Kommen!

Es spricht:

Prof. Dr. Méropi Anastassiadou-Dumont / Paris INALCO/Universität Genf

Respondentin: Prof. Dr. Claudia Römer / Institut für Orientalistik der Universität Wien

„Istanbul, 1914-1922.
The Greeks of the City among shortage, hope and collapse.“

Abstract: Although in different ways and degrees, Istanbul’s population suffered a lot during the Great War. Sanitary problems, pauperization, mortality increase led to a serious deterioration of everyday life.  For the Greeks, the massive flows of refugees –who either ran spontaneously away from active-hostilities zones or were deported by the Ottoman authorities- and the military mobilization –compulsory for all, Muslims and non-Muslims from 1908 onwards- have been two major issues. Paradoxically, in spite of difficulties, the Greek orthodox population of the City notably increased during the war (1914-1918) to the detriment of the Muslim element.

After the Mudros Armistice (October 30, 1918), this demographically strengthened community could hope that the Ottoman Empire’s dismemberment would be confirmed and Constantinople would come back to the Greek fold. To what extent has this “expectation” -that historiography mainly attributes to the elites- been shared by ordinary people? Evidence on that matter is rather rare. A major part of this period’s published literature is made of propaganda texts, which promote “public opinions” constructed without taking into account those they were supposed to represent. 

The lecture aims to grant a speaking time to some “voiceless” people of these troubled years (refugees, widows, orphans, deserters):  what were their priorities? Were their actual aspirations and dreams close to those they had been credited with? The written production (archives of Istanbul’s orthodox parishes, newspapers, literary magazines, etc.)  allows us to grab on-the-go this period of successive transitions during which huge hopes have flourished in a context of extreme misfortune.