Saffo Papantonopoulou

I am a dual PhD student in the Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies departments. My research is focused on the intersection of LGBT issues and the politics of Ottoman heritage in the Balkans and the Middle East, with my geographic focus on the city of Thessaloniki and northern Greece more generally. My methodological framework is informed by the intersections of history and anthropology.

From an anthropological approach, I am interested in tracing the ways in which orientalist geographic imaginaries along the ambiguous borders of "Europe" and the "Middle East" intersect with gender and sexual politics. Thessaloniki is a crucial site in understanding these discourses since, from the 19th century to the present, the city has moved from being seen as the westernmost city of the "east" to the easternmost city of the "west." From a historical approach, I am interested in tracing how these processes of modernization and urban transformation— from the 19th century to the present— inform the ctiy's urban geography and intersect with notions of "east" and "west," "tradition" and "modernity," etc., and what the significance of these discourses and geographies are for transgender people in the city today.