Speaker Series

Gefyra Presents Professor Julia Tulke, Emory University & "Aesthetics of Crisis"


Julia Tulke earned her Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. Her longitudinal research project Aesthetics of Crisis won the 2022 Prosser Award for Visual Methodologies from the International Visual Sociology Association.


This talk recapitulates the first ten years of Aesthetics of Crisis, a longitudinal research project that has documented and examined political street art and graffiti in Athens since 2013, generating an archive of nearly 7000 photographs. Initially probing the walls of the city as an artifact of and site of performative response to the Greek debt crisis, the project has since adopted Lyman Chaffee’s notion of political street art as a “barometer,” attending to shifting currents of crisis and newly emerging discourses: the austerity referendum and so-called refugee crisis of 2015; the growing visibility of feminist and queer protest and expression since the mid-2010s; the emergence anti-Airbnb and anti-gentrification graffiti since 2019; the response to the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020; and, most recently, the turn to graffiti removal as an aspirational performance of the end of crisis. By weaving together ethnographic and documentary sensibilities attuned to the complex and ever-shifting material realities of everyday life, Aesthetics of Crisis offers a polyphonic counterpoint to the narrow and often fetishizing representation of the “crisis city,” i.e. through so-called ruin porn, or the uncritical celebration of “crisis creativity” that casts Athens as “the new Berlin.

Historical Trajectories of Hellenism in Asia Minor with Paschalis Kitromilides

Speaker Biography

Paschalis M. Kitromilides, Ph.D. at Harvard University, is a Greek-Cypriot political scientist and intellectual historian. He is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Athens and a member of the Academy of Athens. He has been director of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies since 1980 and was Director of the Institute of Neohellenic Research / National Hellenic Research Foundation (2000-2011). He has held visiting appointments at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, the European University Institute and the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies Villa I Tatti. He is the author or editor of over fifty books, including Enlightenment and Revolution: The Making of Modern Greece (Harvard University Press, 2013), and over two hundred and sixty articles and book reviews in academic journals and collective volumes in Greek and English. Besides English and Greek, his books have appeared in Russian, Romanian, Serbian and Bulgarian.


Professor Paschalis Kitromilides will present a survey of the Greek presence in Asia Minor from the original Greek colonization in antiquity to the exodus of the Greek population of the peninsula in the third decade of the twentieth century.

He will examine the unity of the Greek world on both shores of the Aegean, East and West, for three millennia. Special attention will be paid to the modern period and to the cultural achievements of the “last Hellenism in Asia Minor.”

My Rembetika Blues: Love, Life & Greek Music | A Discussion with Director Mary Zournazi

Speaker Biography

Mary Zournazi is an Australian film maker, author and cultural philosopher. Her multi-awarding winning documentary Dogs of Democracy (2017) was screened worldwide. Her most recent documentary film, My Rembetika Blues is a film about life, love and Greek music. She is the author of several books including Hope - New Philosophies for Change, Inventing Peace with the German filmmaker Wim Wenders and most recently Justice and Love: A Philosophical Dialogue with Rowan Williams.


My Rembetika Blues is a film about the power of music and what makes us human. Rembetika music or the Greek blues is a music of the streets and a music of refugees. The film explores the heart and soul of Rembetika music through peoples’ stories of love, loss and belonging.

Rembetika developed its roots from migrant experience. Zournazi's grandmother was one of the 1.2 million refugees who fled the Smyrna disaster in Turkey in 1922 and arrived at the Port of Piraeus in Greece. She, like many, became part of a movement of people, and of tradition, which saw the birth Rembetika. Through its rawness and unique style, Rembetika provides one of the world’s foremost musical accounts of migrant experience.

Through her grandmother's story, Zournazi narrates a personal account of the depth of longing and belonging that is part of the migrant life. By weaving together different stories and interviews, the film looks at the legacies of history and migration, and how music can connect people in times of struggle and in times of need.

Drawing on the parallels of the migrant and economic crisis in Greece, the film explores the revival of Rembetika today, and how it continues to convey everyday life and struggle through the fusion of street music, hip-hop, and other influences such as Byzantine music and the Blues.

The film documents peoples’ memory and experiences that are often left out of the chronicles of history. It is a universal story about love, life and music.