Black Athena Reloaded 1: Ideas as Migrants
Debt and Migration in the Postcolony. An Enquiry into Greece’s Crisis
with Ranabir Samaddar and The Apatride Society of the Political Others, Lena Platonos, Savina Yannatou, Stergios Tsirliagos and The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión

In 1987 Martin Bernal published Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization putting forward a controversial thesis that tried to delink Greek history from the western narratives that emerged after the XVII century, and reclaiming African and Asian roots of Greek civilization. These series of debates take Bernal’s title as an epistemic challenge in order to question the politically constructed distinctions between North and South, East and West.

This first debate gathers African philosopher Isaïe Nzeyimana, artist Christian Nyampeta and Ranabir Samaddar, director of the Calcutta Research Group, and The Apatride Society of the Political Others to speak about the impossibility for ideas to remain within “national” borders. At the end of the talks, a special gathering will take place with the Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión, at which the poet and musician Lena Platonos with Savina Yannatou and Stergios Tsirliagos perform few songs selected by Niki Giannari.

In cooperation with the Goethe Institute


Black Athena Reloaded 1: Ideas as Migrants
Debt and Migration in the Postcolony. An Enquiry into Greece’s Crisis

As part of the Black Athena Reloaded event, the Apatride Society of the Political Others invites Ranabir Samadar to present and discuss his post-colonial analysis of the current European debt and migration crisis. The discussion will explore how the Greek, and in a sense, the European scenario of the debt and migration crisis is typical across much of the world, and how Europe’ s periphery is now playing out a script of debt, bondage, and neoliberal reforms, already performed many times in the postcolony. In this context, it discusses certain aspects of politics in times of crisis, which also resemble post-colonial experiences, including experiences of populism. Yet what is significant is that the Greek leaders remained oblivious of the post-colonial destiny of the Greek nation. Even European leftist politics was imprisoned in the politics of the welfare state of the post Second World War era that fed into a European economic project and failed to recognize the emerging post-colonial realities made global by neoliberalism. This is the post-colonial political ideological and discursive context in which migration appears today as a “crisis” for Europe leading to a post-Shengen era.

At the end of the talk, a special gathering takes place with the Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión at which the poet and musician Lena Platonos (performance, orchestration, and piano), along with Savina Yannatou (performance) and Stergios Tsirliagos (orchestration, keyboards, and programming), perform songs selected by Niki Giannari. The songs, poems, and creative videos of Platοnos offer a psycho-geographical rhythm of the city of Athens in which Carrión’s words “Native Foreigners” resonate with rumors and stories about the city’s inhabitants.

The talks will be held in English with simultaneous translation in Greek. The event will take place outdoors.


Ranabir Samaddar has worked extensively on issues of migration and forced migration, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, as well as new regimes of technological restructuring, labor control, and forms of labor. His recent writings on post-colonial capitalism and India’s neoliberal development have signaled a new turn in critical post-colonial thinking. His coauthored work on new towns and new forms of accumulation Beyond Kolkata: Rajarhat and the Dystopia of Urban Imagination (2013) takes forward urban studies in the context of post-colonial accumulation. He is currently Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group, Kolkata.

The Apatride Society of the Political Others is coordinated by Nelli Kambouri, Margarita Tsomou, and Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz.

Savina Yannatou studied singing with G. Georgilopoulou and S. Sakkas in Athens, and later at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with a scholarship awarded by the Mousigetis Foundation. She started singing professionally in 1979, on Greek Radio 3, in collaboration with the composer L. Platonos. Since then she has collaborated with many Greek composers and released numerous albums, also as a songwriter. Since 1993, with the band Primavera en Salonico, she has given concerts all over the world interpreting Sephardic and Mediterranean songs. As a free-azz vocalist she has collaborated with Peter Kowald, Floros Floridis, Barry Guy, Gerald Preinfalk, Günther Baby Sommer, Nikos Touliatos, Günther Pitscheider, the ensemble Medea Electronique, and others.

Lena Platonos is a Greek musician, pianist and electronic music composer. She was one of the pioneers in the Greek electronic music scene of the 1980s and remains active until the present day. She has contributed a great deal to the Greek electronic music scene with records consisting exclusively of analog electronic musical instruments and narration of Greek—and often her personal—reality. Her debut album, Σαμποτάζ, was released in 1981 to critical acclaim due to its lyrical richness and content, as well as to the use of synthesizers, not used commonly in Greek music at the time. Since then, Lena Platonos has released and collaborated on more than 15 albums, mainly featuring electronic music.

The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión is coordinated by Arnisa Zeqo.

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