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Type: Thesis
Title: Exile and migration of Pontic Greeks : the experience of loss as the presence of absence.
Author: Liddle, Valerie Lillian
Issue Date: 2013
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: In this thesis, I explore the experience and significance of absence in the lives of Pontians who live in Adelaide. Pontians are descendants from colonies of Greeks who, for at least 3000 years, inhabited the area bordering the Black Sea in northern Turkey in an area once called Pontos. Their underlying and ongoing sense of absence derives from two historical events of loss. One is from a genocide and enforced exile from Pontos wherein 350,000 of their people died between 1917 and 1923. The other is from voluntary migration when some of the Pontic Greeks who had settled in Greece, and/or their descendants, came to Australia as part of the mass migration of peoples in the mid 20th century. The memories and narratives of the traumatic loss of people and place from Pontos, and the experiences associated with migration to Australia, have played a pivotal role in the construction and experience of absence for Pontians and is an important dimension of their identity as Pontians. The memory of loss is always in the present and is evoked by present experiences and sensed through a multi-faceted expression of emotions. It is embodied in a variety of corporeal practices such as commemorations, dance, community gatherings and return visits and is experienced as an absence. Given that many of my informants have lived in Adelaide for up to fifty years, a central question of this thesis is, how do they continue to remember the loss of their former homelands and why does this elicit an often deep emotional response? In this thesis, I explore how social memory, emotions and embodiment intertwine in the practices of commemoration, dance and journeys to show how loss from the past events of exile and migration are brought into the present to be experienced as both an absence and the presence of that absence. Focusing on how the body experiences being-in-the-world through temporally and historically informed sensory engagement, as well as drawing on a conscious as well as an unconscious reservoir of meaning, loss is not only tied to past events but in and through the body becomes both an absence of a presence and the presence of an absence.
Advisor: Gray, John
Dundon, Alison Joy
Dennis, Simone J.
Taylor, Jim
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2013
Keywords: Pontian Greeks; exile; genocide; migration; loss; phenomenology; social memory; emotion
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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