Professor Renée Hirschon

Research Affiliate

Renée Hirschon, BA Cape Town, MA DPhil Oxf, was educated at the Universities of Cape Town, Chicago, and Oxford.  She was Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University befire becoming Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of the Aegean from 1987 and Chair of the department until 1998. She has long been a Research Associate of the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at St Peter's College, and a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the European Studies Centre and of South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX) St Antony's College, University of Oxford. Her major study was among Asia Minor refugees who settled in Piraeus, Greece, following the 1923 Lausanne Convention which specified the compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey. This resulted in the monograph Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe (2nd edn., 1998). Her most recent publication, an edited volume Crossing the Aegean (2003, 2004), is a bilateral appraisal of the long-term effects of 'ethnic cleansing' on both countries. She is concerned with the relevance of anthropological knowledge to contemporary conditions, and her research interests include migration, cosmology, gender, and linguistic behaviour.

Research Interests 

  • Identity, disporas, forced migration, refugees

  • Cosmology, ritual, spatial organization

  • Gender, ethnography of speaking

  • Socio-cultural change, 'applied' anthropology

  • Modern Greek society, Aegean, Balkan and eastern Mediterranean societies


Selected Articles

‘Cultural Mismatches: Greek Concepts of Time, Personal Identity and Authority in the Context of Europe', in Kevin Featherstone (ed) Europe in Modern Greek History Hurst & Co (2012 in press)

''Greek Adults’ Verbal Play, or How to Train for Caution' in Joseph, Brian (ed) (special issue) Language and Power in Modern Greece, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, 1992: 35-56

‘Freedom, Solidarity and Obligation : the Socio-Cultural Context of  Greek Politeness’ in A. Bayraktaroglu and M. Sifianou (eds) Linguistic Politeness Across Boundaries : the Case of Greek and Turkish, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2001:17-42

‘Presents, Promises and Punctuality: Accountability and Obligation in Greek Social Life’, in  M.Mazower (ed)  Networks of Power in Modern Greece: Essays in Honour of John Campbell  Hurst & Co, 2008: 189-207

‘Imported Individuals, Indigenous Persons: Changing Celebrations of Personal Identity in Contemporary Greece’ in Chris Hann & T.Golz (eds) Eastern Christians in  Anthropological Perspective University of California Press, 2010:

‘Dismantling the Millet: Religion and National Identity in Contemporary Greece’ in A.Aktar, U.Ozkirimli, N.Kizilyuruk,(eds) Nationalism in the Troubled Triangle: Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

'Open Body/Closed Space: the Transformation of Female Sexuality' in Ardener, S (ed) Defining Females: the Nature of Women in Society.  Croom Helm, London, 1978:  66-88

'The Woman-Environment Relationship: Greek Cultural Values in an Urban Community', Ekistics, Vol. 310, Jan/Feb 1985: 15-21

'Women, the Aged and Religious Activity: Oppositions and Complementarity in an Urban Greek Locality' in Allen, P, and Mackrakis, L (eds) Women and Men in Greece: a Society in Transition, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Vol 1, No 1, 1983, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore: 113-129

'Territoriality and the Home Environment in an Urban Greek Locality' (with J Gold) Anthropological Quarterly, Vol 55, No 2, 1982:  63-73

'Under One Roof:  Marriage, the Dowry and Family Life in Piraeus, Greece' in Kenny M and Kertzer D (eds) Urban Life in Mediterranean Europe, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1983:  299-323

'Property, Power and Gender Relations', Introduction in R Hirschon (ed) Women and Property, Women as Property, Croom Helm, London, St Martin’s Press, NY, 1984: 1-22

'Housing and Cultural Priorities: the Asia Minor Refugees of 1922' (with S Thakurdesai), Disasters, Vol 2, No 4, 1979:  247-50

‘The Creation of Community: Well-being without Wealth in an Urban Greek Refugee Locality’ in M. Cernea and C. McDowell (eds) Risks and Reconstruction : Experiences of Resettlers and Refugees, The World Bank, Washington, 2000: 393-407

‘Knowledge of Diversity: Towards a More Differentiated set of ‘Greek’ Perceptions of Turks’. Special issue D.Theodossopoulos (ed) When Greeks think about Turks: a view from anthropology.  South European Society & Politics, Vol. 11(1) March, 2006: 61-78

‘History’s Long Shadow: the Lausanne Treaty and contemporary Greco-Turkish relations’ in O.Anastasakis, Kalypso Nicolaidis, Kerem Oktem (eds) The Long Shadow of Europe: Greeks and Turks in the Era of Post-nationalism Martinus Nijhoff, Leiden, Boston 2009: pp73-94

'The Jews of Rhodes: The Decline and Extinction of an Ancient Community', in  M.Rozen (ed) The  Last Ottoman Century and Beyond: The Jews in Turkey and the Balkans, Tel Aviv University, 2002 : 291-307

‘The Jews from Rhodes in Central and Southern Africa’ in M.Ember, C.Ember and I. Skoggard (eds) Encyclopedia of Diasporas , Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2005 : 925-934

'Essential Objects and the Sacred: Interior and Exterior Space in an Urban Greek Locality' in Ardener S (ed) Women and Space: Ground Rules and Social Maps, Croom Helm, London 1981: 72-88

'Identity and the Greek State: Some Conceptual Issues and Paradoxes' in R. Clogg, (ed) The Greek Diaspora in the Twentieth Century, Macmillan, London, 1999: 158-180

‘Espulsioni di massa in Grecia e Turchia: la convenzione di Losanna del 1923’ in M.Buttino (ed) In Fuga: guerre,carestie e migrazioni nel mondo contemporaneo ,(in Italian)  l’Ancora del Mediterraneo, Napoli, 2001: 23-33

''Unmixing Peoples’ in the Aegean Region’ in R.Hirschon (ed) Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal  of the Consequences of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey , Berghahn Books, Oxford, New York, 2003 : 3-12

‘Consequences of the Lausanne Convention’ in R.Hirschon (ed) Crossing the Aegean: An  Appraisal  of the Consequences of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange between Greece  and Turkey , Berghahn Books, Oxford, New York, 2003 : 15-20

''We got on well with the Turks': Christian-Muslim Relations in the late Ottoman Period’ in D. Shankland (ed) Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage : the Work of F.W.Hasluck (1878-1920). Isis Books, Istanbul, 2004: 325-343

'The Lausanne Convention’,  in M.Gibney and R.Hansen (eds) Immigration and Asylum from 1900 to the Present, ABC-Clio, California, 2005

‘Knowledge of Diversity: Towards a More Differentiated set of ‘Greek’ Perceptions of Turks’. Special issue D.Theodossopoulos (ed) When Greeks think about Turks: a view from anthropology.  South European Society & Politics,  Vol. 11(1) March, 2006, pp 61-78

‘Geography, Culture and the Refugee Experience: the Paradox of Lesbos’ in P.Kitromilides (ed) Aivalik and Mytilini: an Interactive Relationship in the North-Eastern Aegean Conference Proceedings, Vth Historical Conference, Institute of Neohellenic Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, EIE. 2008

‘Home From Home: Anthropology and the Role of the British School in Athens’ in M. Llewellyn-Smith, E. Kalliga, P. Kitromilides, (eds) Scholars, Travellers, Archives, British Academy, London, 2009

‘Religion and Nationality: the Tangled Greek Case’ in R. Pixten & L.Dikomitis (eds) When God Comes to Town: Anthropological Perspectives on Religion and  Secularization Berghahn, Oxford, New York, 2009:3-16

'Memory and Identity: The Asia Minor Greeks in Kokkinia', in E. Papataxiarchis (ed) Anthropology and the Past: Contributions to Social History in Modern Greece (in Greek) Kastaniotis, Athens, 1992:327-56

'Society, Culture and Spatial Organisation: an Athens Community' (with S Thakurdesai), Ekistics, Vol 30, September, 1970:  187-96

‘Bourdieu in Olymbos: the Symbolic Character of the Karpathiko House’, Praktika, Athens 2008


Women and Property, Women as Property (editor), Croom Helm ,London; St Martins Press, New York, 1984, 222pp

Heirs of  the Greek Catastrophe:  The Social Life of Asia Minor Refugees in Piraeus, Clarendon, Oxford, 1989, 280pp.

2nd ed., reissue in paperback: Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe: The Social Life of Asia Minor Refugees in Piraeus, Berghahn Books, Oxford, New York, 1998. [New Preface, and Foreword by Michael Herzfeld] Turkish translation, 2000 (Tarih Vakfi Yurt Yayinlari, Istanbul), Greek translation, 2004 (Cultural Foundation of the National Bank, MIET, Athens)

Crossing the Aegean : An Appraisal of the 1923 Population Exchange Between Greece and Turkey (editor) Berghahn Books, Oxford, New York, 2003, 2004, 298pp. Chapter 1 ('Unmixing Peoples' in the Aegean Region), Chapter 2 (The Consequences of the Lausanne Convention).

Turkish translation of Renée Hirschon (ed): Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal of the Consequences of the 1923 Population Exchange between Greece and Turkey (Istanbul Bilgi University Press) 2005

AAA Lecture

Being at Home in the Global Village: Challenges for Anthropology in the 21st Century, William Douglass Distinguished Lecture for the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, AAA Conference, December 2009