Dr Eirini Avramopoulou

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British School at Athens
52 Souedias Street
Athens, 10676



A site for hosting the needs of one of Italy’s larger naval bases in the Mediterranean until the end of the Second World War and an exile island for political dissenters during the Greek military junta of 1967–74, Leros was denounced later as “the guilty secret of Europe” because of the inhumane psychiatric treatment that many of the patients of the mental hospital of Lepida received when more than 4,000 patients were brought to the island after it started functioning in 1958. The 2015 decision to build a refugee ‘hot spot’ (camp) in the area of Lepida once again touched upon past traumas at a time when more than 38,000 refugees were passing through the island, whose permanent population is fewer than 9,000. My research project entitled “Changing Spaces of Refuge: Histories and Geographies of Displacement amidst Politics of Crisis in Greece” is based on ethnographic and archival research conducted in Leros island and addresses the intertwining of memoirs of war and exile with the current affective manifestations of empathy and xenophobia, as well as the hope and despair that define the everyday life of a small Dodecanesian island situated opposite the Turkish coastline. This research builds upon the growing and renewed anthropological analyses of subjectivity, space and emotions, and engages with interdisciplinary and critical theories of memory, trauma and identity in order to offer novel understandings at the level of policy, public debate and community life regarding the institutional, social and cultural effects of the current economic and refugee crisis in Greece, and in Europe. 



Eirini Avramopoulou received a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge (title: “The Affective Language of Activism: An Ethnography of Human Rights, Gender Politics and Activist Coalitions in Istanbul, Turkey”, 2012). Her work has been published in several edited volumes and journals, including Subjectivity, The Greek Review of Social Research, Cultural Anthropology/Hot Spots, Critical Interdisciplinarity (Kritiki Diepistimonikotita), and Thesis. Her research interests include anthropology of human rights, social movements and activism; gender and sexuality; secularism and Islam; economic crisis, memory and trauma; queer theory, feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to subjectivity, biopolitics, and affect. She has participated and organised workshops, discussion panels and conferences related to affect, social movements and activism, as well as to issues of Islam and secularism in Europe, focusing on gender, ethnic minorities and refugees. She has taught at Panteio University (Greece), Social Anthropology Department and delivered lectures on postcolonialism, feminism, gender and queer theory at the University of Cambridge (UK), Bosphorus University (Turkey), the University of Thessaly (Greece), and the University of Athens (Greece). In 2013-2014 she was a fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin and in 2014-2015 she worked as a research fellow at the Sociology Department of the University of Cambridge on a project entitled, ‘The Human and Social Costs of Economic Crisis in Greece.’ 

Selected publications

Monographs and Edited volumes

  • 2016. Desire, Affect and Representation in Pornography. Co-edited with Irene Peano. Punctum Books.
  • 2018. Affect in the Political: Subjectivities, Power and Inequality in the Modern World. Ed. volume. (in Greek). Athens: Nisos publishing house.

Chapters in books

  • 2017. “Suffering: The Human and Social Costs of Economic Crisis” in Castells, Manuel et al. (eds.), Europe’s Crises. Cambridge: Polity press. Pp. 148-177. (Co-authored with John B. Thompson and Silvia Pasquetti).
  • 2017. “Claims of Existence between Biopolitics and Thanatopolitics” in Christoph F.E. Holzhey and Manuele Gragnolati (eds.) De/Constituting Wholes. Towards Partiality Without Parts. Wien – Berlin: Verlag Turia + Kant. Pp. 67-84.
  • 2016. “The Affective Echoes of an Overwhelming Life: The Demand for Legal Recognition and the Vicious Circle of Desire, in the Case of Queer Activism in Istanbul, Turkey” in Othon Alexandrakis (ed.) Figuring Resistance: Ethnographic Exercises for the New Anthropology of Social Movements. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 41-62.
  • 2016. “Crossing Distances to Meet Allies: On Women’s Signatures, the Politics of Performativity and Dissensus” in Delphine Gardey and Cynthia Kraus (eds.) Politiques de Coalition. Penser et se Mobiliser avec Judith Butler/ Politics of Coalition. Thinking Collective Action with Judith Butler. Switzerland: Seismo Publishing. Pp. 79-103.
  • 2013. “Entre le Visible et l’Invisible: Figures de Femmes Voilées en Grèce” in Malek Bouyahia and Maria Eleonora Sanna (eds.) La Polysémie du Voile: Politiques et Mobilisations Postcoloniales. Éditions des Archives Contemporaines: Paris (France). Pp. 57-74. (Co-authored with Athena Athanasiou). 
  • 2012. “Reflecting On Secularism: Dominant Debates on the Muslim Veil in Europe” in Sieglinde Rosenberger and Birgit Sauer (eds.) Politics, Religion, and Gender: Regulating the Muslim Headscarf. Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group. Pp.37-54. (Co-authored with Gül Çorbacioglu and Maria Eleonora Sanna).
  • 2012. “Non-Regulation: Opportunity for Freedom of Religion or Sedimentation of Existing Power Structures?” in Sieglinde Rosenberger and Birgit Sauer (eds.) Politics, Religion, and Gender: Regulating the Muslim Headscarf. Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group. Pp.169-185. (Co-authored with Rikke Andreassen, Nora Gresch, Sevgi Kiliç and Birgit Sauer).

Scientific journals 

  • 2017. “Hope as a Performative Affect: Feminist Struggles Against Death and Violence” Subjectivity. 10(3): 276-293.
  • 2013. “Signing Dissent in the Name of ‘Woman’: Reflections on Female Activist Coalitions in Istanbul, Turkey” in Athena Athanasiou and Giorgos Tsimouris (eds.) Migration, Gender, and Precarious Subjectivities in times of Crisis. Special Issue in Review of Social Sciences, The Greek Review of Social Research. 140-141, B’-Γ’, pp. 233-246.
  • 2013. “On the Fantasy of Dispossession”. Cultural Anthropology. Special Issue: Hot Spots: An Impromptu Uprising: Ethnographic Reflections on the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey. Available at: http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/400-on-the-fantasy-of-dispossession 
  • 2012. Editorial note, “Complexities of ‘Europe’,” Focus: Thematic Unit. European Review Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 20 (1): 1-9. (Co-authored with Leonidas Karakatsanis, Katherine Leckie, Nikolaos Papadogiannis, Thomas Stammers)
  • 2011. “Echoes of ‘Dead Ends’: Reflections on ‘Making Sense’”. Cultural Anthropology. Special Issue: Hot Spots: Beyond the “Greek Crisis.” Available at: http://www.culanth.org/?q=node/432 
  • 2006. “Subaltern Studies Group. Attempting to Re-construct the Subject’s Voice”. Kritiki Diepistimoninkotita. Vol.2. Savvalas: Athens. Pp. 215-237. (In Greek).
  • 2002. “Identity Paths: From West Thrace to Gazi. Reflections and Conflicts Shaping Collective Identities. The Case of the Turkish Speaking-Muslims Residing in the Area of Gazi in Athens.” Thesis. 79: 127-161. (In Greek, co-authored with L. Karakatsanis).

Book Reviews

  • April 2015. “Absence. A political notion” Review of the book: Fei Zika, Louiza Karapidaki, Konstantina Katrakazou, Thanasis Chatzopoulos (eds). 2013. Absence.  Athens: Nisos. CHRONOS. (in Greek - available at: http://www.chronosmag.eu/index.php/pl-ps-pl.html)
  • Spring 2014. “Crisis, Critique and Political Possibilities.” Interview with Athena Athanasiou & Judith Butler a propos the publication of their book Dispossession: The Performative in the Political. (Polity Press, 2013). Cyprus Review 26:1, pp. 195-203. (Also available in Greek at: http://enthemata.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/athena-judith/#more-14081)
  • September 2013. Review of Choman Hardi's book: Gendered Experiences of Genocide: Anfal Survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq. HISTOREIN. North America. 13: 94-8. Available at: http://www.historeinonline.org/index.php/historein/article/view/243/170