Letter from the Editor

We are so delighted to publish our inaugural edition of Ergon: Greek/American & Diaspora Arts and Letters, a peer-reviewed journal that promotes the arts, letters, and scholarship of Greek America. The title Ergon, a word referring to a work of art or a film, not to mention its broader connotations regarding jobs and labor (ergasia ) resonates with different aspects of the publication’s scope, from the artistic and creative, to essays, to scholarly work, as well as works where the boundaries between blur. This online magazine will feature the work (έργον) of poets, photographers, public intellectuals, musicians, critics, scholars, journalists, essayists, filmmakers, novelists, activists, translators, and women and men of letters. It fosters conversation among those deeply engaged in the production of new ideas, images, and meanings in the broader field that we designate Greek/American.

In choosing the marker Greek/American we are conscious that the solidus, or slash, is not neutral; it suggests alternatives, fractions, hyphenations, or separate elements, and it carries a host of meanings. Greek/American marks simultaneously the exclusions that “Greek” and “American” connote as distinct markers of identity and the inclusions that have been historically set in motion across these two domains. The label Greek/American, with its oblique stroke of punctuation, thus constitutes a sliding over between two terms that appear dissimilar; it acknowledges separations and merging, distinctions and convergences, differences and commonalities, crossings and divides, junctures and disjunctures—all in their historical specificity—between Greek and American. And this sliding over is significant both in the realm of the imagination and the real domain of politics, economics, and culture.

Ergon includes material on people who self-ascribe as Greek American, this is true. But Greek/American is not an ethnic label. It does not refer to populations that designate themselves as Greek Americans or American Greeks. The journal is not a publication that is defined by or confined to such ethnic tagging. Its scope both includes and extends beyond ethnicity.

Greek/American refers to expressions, exchanges, connections, flows, and cross-fertilizations within the transnational field of “Greece–United States.” The scope of Ergon, therefore, encompasses questions of identity, belonging, memory, subjectivity, cosmopolitanism, travel, translation, the transnational, and diaspora, as well as, more broadly, politics and culture, as they play out in relation to Greek and American worlds. What matters, therefore, is the Greek/American angle through which an author engages with an issue, not the author’s descent.

The journal will feature position papers on the status of transnational Greek/American studies, new research on migration and history, ethnography, religion, music, and analyses of literary works, art works, and films. It will include essays, memoirs, and translations, and it will also showcase new creative work in fiction, poetry, and photography. It will host reviews and review essays of new books, or important books that have been previously neglected, in the field of Greek/American studies, as well as reviews of films, documentaries, and museum exhibits that feature the Greek/American experience. Ergon will also feature interviews with writers, artists, and scholars, and it will publish special guest-edited issues. Submissions and guest editors will be solicited by invitation only.

We’ve initiated this project with the firm belief that it is timely to disseminate new knowledge about Greek/American worlds as widely as possible. We are envisioning Ergon to be an open public forum, free of charge, featuring exceptional quality work written in a language that aims to reach a public beyond strictly academic and artistic circles. Our aim is to produce public scholarship and arts where scholars and readers interface fruitfully.

In addition, Ergon will explore issues that do not always receive the public attention they deserve, showcasing the multiplicity of Greek/American worlds. Previously silenced or sidelined issues will command prime space here. Ergon offers a creative and politically self-reflective forum to reclaim how Greek/American expressions are felt and practiced in a world of increasing complexity.

Though Greek/American is our principal focus, we are also open to exploring aspects of transnationalism and diaspora in a global perspective, as well as issues related to hemisphere (North and South America) and intercontinental (Greece—Europe—United States—Australia for instance) studies.

The editorial team of Ergon consists of scholars, poets, and writers with extensive experience in Greek/American scholarship and arts and letters. It is edited by Yiorgos Anagnostou (The Ohio State University). The poetry editor will be Christopher Bakken (Allegheny College). The book review editors are Gerasimus Katsan (Queens College), and Neovi Karakatsanis (Indiana University South Bend).

Yiorgos Anagnostou