Department of Social Anthropology
bsas seminar

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".

Demonstrant i Tyrkia
Join us on Zoom for the BSAS seminar with Theo Rakopoulos May 11.
Theodoros Rakopoulos

Main content

Seminar paper

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. 

About the lecturer

Theodoros Rakopoulos is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. Read more about him here.

All interested are welcome!