Modern Greek Society & Culture Class Project: Interview:
Each student will investigate one person’s view of Greek culture and society through a personal interview. This is a personalized biographical report of an individual, family member, student, or friend. Students are encouraged to do their research prior to coming to Athens. They can interview a Greek immigrant or friend prior to coming or wait and do this upon arrival. The report will be 3-4 pages long and include personal anecdotes, accounts and history of the individual. The central question will be: “What are the basic elements of Greek society and culture that make it unique?” Include, from their experience: Family history; Greek Orthodox traditions; Folk dance, customs & music; Greek food & drink; Greek holidays and customs; Greek political life; superstitions and customs; and Greek community life. Conclude, with what you believe are the basic ingredients of Greek culture. Purpose:
To make a personal contact with someone from Greek cultural heritage and tradition. To learn how someone from a Greek cultural experience will look at their culture and heritage by identifying key elements of their culture and society. The purpose of this assignment is to make you engage in a personal identification of what it means to be Greek! Procedure:
Find someone that identifies themselves as Greek by heritage, tradition, religion and common ethnic experience. Your personal informant may be a friend, a relative, someone you meet on your travels or a fellow student. You may use a pseudonym (false name) for the person if you would like to protect their privacy and elicit better answers to your questions. Your interview should take at least an hour-hour and half! You may want to record the interview, so you can focus on the conversation without having to write extensive notes? Be sure to ask your interviewee, if they are comfortable being recorded. Subjects to cover in the Interview:
Try to guide the conversation along interesting lines. Do not discourage your interviewee from bringing up things and personal anecdotes, historical events or family traditions. You do not need to cover everything, but here are some ideas to get you going! Be sure to use follow-up questions like, “how do you feel about that?” or “why do you think things were done that way?” or “do you feel that this is different because you are Greek?” These can stimulate responses. Keep in mind, the idea is to learn enough to briefly outline your interviewee’s story and, more importantly, their observations about life and customs of Greece. You don’t have to ask all of the questions! Here are some basic question to cover:
(More important questions have an *)
•Where did you grow up?*
•If this is an immigrant, at what age did you leave Greece?
•If a Greek American, do you speak Greek? Marry a Greek? Keep Greek traditions and holidays?*
•How many people grew up in your home?
•Do you have a large extended family?*
•What do your parents do for a living?
•What is your home like?
•What religion are you?
•What religious traditions do you keep in your home?*
•What is special about Greek Weddings? Baptisms? Funerals?* Engagements? Namedays? Birthdays?
•What special holidays are celebrated like Easter? Christmas? Lent? Saint’s Days? And other holidays?*
•What special religious traditions are kept in the home?*
•What would you say are the special religious beliefs and practices of Greeks?
•What is your neighborhood like?
•Who are your friends?
•What special memories do you have of your family and friends?
•Are there special superstitions and/or beliefs kept in your family?
•Do you believe in things like “the Evil Eye,” “unlucky 13,” “Black Tuesday,” “ Itchy hand,” garlic to ward off evil spirits; any other superstitions?
•What are the major differences between Greeks and Americans? Between Greeks and other Europeans? Between Greeks and Turks?
•What role does Greek music have in your life?*
•What role does Greek Dance have in your life and your family?*
•What are the key differences between the Greek Orthodox Church and Western Catholic or Protestant Churches?
•How do you spend an average day? Do you have a “siesta” break in the afternoon? Do you spend time at a local café or coffee place?
•Do you spend time with a group of friends when you go out?
•Is dating different in Greece than America?
•Is family life different in Greece than America?
•How would you compare a Greek family with an American one?