Introducing Dr Alexandra Balandina, Lecturer of Anthropology and instructor of our Ethnographies class:
What are your favorite things about Athens? I love the historical centre of Athens for its energy, colours, life. I live 10 minutes away by foot from Acropolis and very often spend my leisure time in the neighbouring areas of Thisseio, Monastiraki, Koukaki, Plaka. Personally and professionally I enjoy the changing nature of Athens. Tourism, economic crisis and the income of refugees are changing our life in the city and the city itself in ways we couldn’t have imagined some years ago.
What is your area of expertise and what has your academic activity been over the past year? I am an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist with a research interest in the geographic areas of the Middle East and the Balkans. My main areas of research interest include research methods and embodied research, ethnography, action anthropology in Greece, censorship, music and politics and performance practice. My current research interests include the many faces of the refugee and economic crisis in Greece and Europe, the birth and establishment of action anthropology in Greece as it is being practiced in civil society institutions, as well as local and international governmental and non-governmental organizations. I am also interested in the professional rights of social anthropologists in Greece.
Is there anything that you would like your students to know about you? Concurrently to my academic career, I have been employed by various Greek and International NGOs (Praksis, Metadrasi, Medicines du Monde, IRC, Elix, Amurtel Greece) and Greek research centers (such as EKKE) and have had the opportunity to lead, plan, organize and conduct numerous research projects related to the refugee crisis in Greece today. I have a strong passion for performance, as a music-making practice and artistic musical expression, on the one hand, and a research technique and object of anthropological research. Currently, I play percussion in three intercultural music bands in Athens. We play classical Iranian, Turkish and Arabic music, and Mediterranean music. Besides English and Greek I also speak Russian, Serbian, Macedonian and Farsi.
Enjoyed reading this blog? Learn more about Arcadia in Greece!