Department seminar: Theodoros Rakopoulos
The Department of Social Anthropology is happy to announce the upcoming seminar with Theodoros Rakopoulos (University of Oslo). The title of the lecture is "One homeland, two 'Republics': Thinking about the vernacular state in the (Cypriot) postcolony".
This paper proposes a historical ethnographic way to rethink 'nationalism' in postcolonial, post-conflict settings. Focusing on the emic ways people claim and articulate state symbols, it moves beyond 'nationalism' to critically analyse statehood in the everyday. I specifically pay attention to the two main vernacular ways that Greek-Cypriots conceptually engage the 'Cyprus Problem' (the island's division for more than 47, or in other readings 58, years). I firstly show how the bicommunal nature of the state in Cyprus finds emic loyalty among certain people politically inclined towards 'cypriotism', an idea premised on a nationhood-defying constitutional bicommunalism.
I also show how dividing techniques of rhetoric and everyday practice among some Greek-Cypriots posit Turkish-Cypriots (and Turks) as culprits for the Republic of Cyprus, and discuss the concept of 'divisionism', the tacit recognition of the UN Buffer Zone as a state border and its political underpinnings. The paper aims to contribute to understandings of the political vernacular in post-colonial contexts and is in discussion with anthropologies of statehood elsewhere. Paying attention to the dividing and converging ways of thinking about the state(s) in a place can possibly help us to move beyond analyses relying on 'nationalism' as an overarching concept.