100 objets: une histoire du déplacement au prisme de sa culture matérielle

What objects did the refugees who arrived in Greece after August 1922 bring with them? The research project Objects in Motion focuses on the history of the objects which were ‘expatriated’ between 1922 and 1924. These objects, which families and individuals chose to rescue at a moment when they were losing all stable points of reference, highlight both the conditions of the refugee moment and the material world which got carried over to the new homeland. Some clothes and personal items, jewellery and valuables, trade tools and religious icons, property deeds, documents, and letters are some of the most common things that the displaced chose to take with them when packing their few suitcases with practical items for everyday use and objects of material and emotional value; the precious and the quotidian, side by side. How many of these objects are still preserved today?

The project aims not only to trace the objects themselves, but also to study the reasons why their owners chose these specific objects to accompany them on their journey of expatriation, explore their practical uses and value during the first years of resettlement and follow their trail through the 20th century until today, when we find them again at the homes of refugee descendants. The objects that travelled with the refugee populations are not mere heirlooms from the homelands they were forced to leave behind. Each one tells a different cultural and social story about their owners and the society they used to live in both in their old and in their new home country. They constitute a tangible and intangible heritage of invaluable material evidence on the history and social anthropology of the 20th and 21st century. They have witnessed and documented displacement and resettlement.

The research project Objects in Motion is conducted at the Institute for Historical Research of the National Research Foundation in Greece and is funded by the Ministry of Culture among other research on the meaning of expatriation on the occasion of the centenary since the arrival and integration of the Greek populations in Greece after the Asia Minor catastrophe.

(Eleni Kyramargiou)

Site web en grec et en anglais:  100objects.eie.gr

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