Event Details

The HHF Greek Canadian Archives, York University invites you to the online lecture of Dr Alexandra Mourgou, LAPS Postdoctoral Fellow, on March 22, 1:00-2:30 pm (EST), titled  Rebetiko places: From the Eastern Mediterranean cosmopolitanisms to the working-class refugee neighborhoods of Piraeus. 

Abstract: Population mobility and cultural circulation have been widespread phenomena in the temporal and spatial context of the Ottoman Empire (Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans). In the Greek case, a vast population that lived in this territory during the late 19th and the early 20th century was dislocated to Piraeus and other Greek cities during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey (1922-1923). Throughout these displacements, people brought along their cultures, identities, practices, and music. Coming from different places, those people were seeking a code of expression and communication; a (musical) “language” based on common symbols and meanings in the context of shared practices, cultures, and experiences. Eventually, a “predominantly urban” popular musical genre flourished in Piraeus, known as rebetiko, which was the amalgamation of different social, spatial, and cultural identities. In this lecture, the dialectic interconnections between space and music are explored, highlighting the multiple contested identities, as well as their spatial representations in a context of continuous transformations. These interplays are investigated on multiple scales: from the supralocal (Eastern Mediterranean) to the local (Piraeus’ neighbourhoods) and vice versa; οn the one hand, in the invisible aspects of everyday life, and, on the other hand, on the elaboration of social practices and popular cultures related to socio-spatial conditions.

Alexandra Mourgou is a Postdoctoral Researcher at York University, holding the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, working on her project ‘Musical Geographies and the Greek Canadian Experience in Toronto. Places, Cultures, & Diasporic Identities’. Her research interests and publications focus mainly on urban, cultural, and historical geography, and more specifically on the interconnections between space and music. She received a joint Ph.D. degree in cultural geography at the National Technical University of Athens and University Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne (joint degree) in February 2022. She holds a master’s in architecture at the N.T.U.A. and a post-master’s degree in Urbanism at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’ Architecture de Paris La Villette. In the past, she has participated in European and national research projects, in Greece and Turkey. Beyond the walls of academia, she has studied classical and traditional music and has participated in performances in Athens and Paris. Her involvement with musical performance has played a decisive role in her perspective on academic, theoretical, and methodological explorations.

March 22, 1:00-2:30 pm (EST)