Our Intense Biopolitical Present: COVID and Before

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Our Intense Biopolitical Present: COVID and Before

In this roundtable we aim to revisit the question of biopolitics - the politics over life - and to assess its contemporary relevance. In 2020 biopolitics has reemerged as a popular concept, as well as perhaps the best way to understand the COVID-19 global emergency. At the same time, biopolitics was already part of the public debate; in Greece, particularly, it was central to discussions in the last decade of constant crisis and austerity politics.

Through a panel of scholars from different disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, we would like to invite insight on our contemporary biopolitical moment that will also be informed by a larger context of analysis: neoliberal population management and new social agendas; neonationalism and neofascism; moral panics and new borders; racism, homo/transphobia and gender violence; bio-industry and biocitizenship; archaeopolitics and the new past.


Date: 21 January 2021, 5pm (UK time)




Dimitris Plantzos (Νational and Kapodistrian University of Athens): A national bicentenary, a global pandemic, and the new past

Nelli Kambouri (University of Hertfordshire and Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences): Biopolitics and care in the period of economic and health crises

Paul Apostolidis (London School of Economics & Political Science): Biopolitics, dangerous work and the dynamics of hegemony

Dimitra Kotouza (University of Lincoln), Revisiting Biopolicing under COVID. Managing health from epidemic to pandemic

Olga Demetriou & Elisabeth Kirtsoglou (Durham University): Facile biopolitics and (counter) resistance


Chaired by Dimitris Papanikolaou (Oxford University)


About the roundtable series:


Under the general title “Modern Greek Studies and Beyond: Local Cases, Global Debates”, the roundtable discussions will bring local case studies from Greek culture, society, history, and politics to bear on larger and timely theoretical, political, and cultural debates: debates on ecocriticism, biopolitics and race, the relevance of contemporary (Greek) art, languages of futurity from the European and Global South, and COVID-19 as a transversal crisis.

By inviting speakers situated (mainly or partly) in Modern Greek studies alongside speakers working in other fields, we will explore how cases from modern and contemporary Greek culture, politics, and history can be relevant for scholars whose work is not (only) situated in Modern Greek Studies, and ask how Modern Greek studies could be repositioned through an engagement with such global debates.

We aim at inclusivity and diversity in speakers and audiences and at stimulating interdisciplinary dialogues that will take scholars outside the comfort zones of their disciplines. In each roundtable, invited speakers from different disciplines and career stages will converse with each other, in order to promote exchanges among scholars who might normally not sit around the same academic table.


About the network:

Rethinking Modern Greek Studies in the 21st century: A Cultural Analysis Network” emerged from a partnership between the departments of Modern Greek at Oxford and Amsterdam but brings together scholars in several universities around the world and aims to progressively widen its reach to include more partners and countries.

Our inaugural conference in Oxford (January 31- February 1, 2020) was the first meeting place for the formation of a dynamic network of scholars that has been growing ever since (a series of blogposts reflecting on the first meeting of the network are available here: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/rethinking-modern-greek-studies-in-the-21st-century-a-cultural-analysis-network#tab-1757141). Given the current restrictions that do not allow us to host face-to-face events, we will continue the network’s activities this academic year with this online roundtable series and – if the situation allows it – a 2-day conference in Amsterdam in the spring of 2021. 


Participation in the roundtables is free and open to all.


This event will be held online as a Zoom webinar. The event is free but registration is required.

Please register here and you will be emailed a link to join the online event on Zoom.


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