1. Faculty of Arts
  2. The Australian Centre
  3. Critical Public Conversations
  4. Sovereignty and Solidarity: Redefining belonging in so-called Australia (2024)
  5. (Mis)Using Histories: Mediterranean Diasporas and the Politics of Belonging

(Mis)Using Histories: Mediterranean Diasporas and the Politics of Belonging

The Australian Centre thanks Ashley Anderson for the careful and considerate revision of provided captions and transcript.

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This webinar is the fourth in the Australian Centre's 2024 Critical Public Conversations series: Sovereignty and Solidarity: Redefining belonging in so-called Australia.

Stories of migration from the Mediterranean region to Australia have typically been framed within a settler national frame of historical analysis. That is, histories of Greek, Italian, Maltese, Cypriot, Turkish, and Lebanese migrant experiences are often positioned as stories of “struggle and success” in the national confines of Australian history. Such stories frame migrants from the Mediterranean region as a people who worked hard (often in small businesses or nation building infrastructure schemas) and then climbed the steep ladder of social mobility to become successfully assimilated, hyphenated Australians. Such historical narratives – which almost never centre First Nations people, Indigenous sovereignty, and Country – are frequently deployed by members of Mediterranean diasporas to claim an entitled sense of belonging to (so-called) Australia.

In this webinar, two diaspora scholars Daphne Arapakis and Andonis Piperoglou explore this (mis)using of the past. Illuminating the importance of the past in the construction of Greek diasporic identities today, they will explore how usages of migrant histories create culturally specific renderings of settler colonial culture, while also making space for anti-colonial activities that permit alternative, cross-border, senses of belonging.


Dr Andonis Piperoglou is the inaugural Hellenic Senior Lecturer in Global Diasporas at the University of Melbourne. He grew up on Ngunnawal country and has Cypriot and Castellorizian cultural heritage. Andonis has expertise in migration and ethnic history and has published extensively on Greek relations with the transnational politics of whiteness in Australia. He is interested in connections between settler colonialism, race and ethnicity and human movements between the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Recently, his chapter “Settler Migrations” was published in The Cambridge History of Global Migrations, and (with Associate Professor Zora Simic) he co-edited the special issue, “Their Own Perceptions: Non-Anglo Migrants and Aboriginal Australia” for Australian Historical Studies.

Daphne Arapakis is a PhD Candidate in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Her thesis, “Diasporic Tensions, Colonial Dimensions: Greeks, Australian Multiculturalism, and Indigenous Sovereignty”, explores the dynamics of Indigenous-ethnic relations in Australia. Daphne is a member of the Greek diaspora and the second generation in her family to be born and raised in the formally industrial migrant suburb of Brunswick on Wurundjeri Country. She recently published an article in the Journal of Intercultural Studies titled “Ethnic Compartmentalisation: Greek Australian (Dis)Associations with White Australia and Indigenous Sovereignty.”

The presenters have granted permission for this recording to be used for personal viewing and educational purposes.