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13-16 October, 2022 · York University, Toronto, Canada

John O. Iatrides Dissertation Prize for 2022

We are pleased to award the 2022 John O. Iatrides Dissertation Prize in Modern Greek Studies to Yiorgo Topalidis (University of Florida) for his thesis, "The Whitening Process Model: Forging an Anti-Racist Praxis for Descendants of European Immigrants in the United States." 

The committee’s award citation reads as follows:

The committee found Dr. Topalidis’s dissertation to be an important and potentially ground-breaking contribution to the field, building on the work of previous scholars of ethnicity in the Greek American and Ottoman diaspora contexts while offering a novel perspective focused on breaking the historical silence about how traditional attitudes about the Greek American transition to ethnic whiteness have contributed to the perpetuation of white supremacy in the United States. The dissertation’s solidly triangulated research design combines statistical analysis of archival material, content analysis of historical media, and grounded theory analysis of qualitative research data, uniting historical and contemporary sociological methods with urgent social justice issues in mind. The committee was particularly impressed by the wealth of rich and compelling presentations of data and the author’s rigorously insightful analysis thereof, and greatly appreciated his methodical discussion of how Greek Americans and other descendants of European immigrants to the United States can use their particular shared history and culture to decouple whiteness from white supremacy. We congratulate Dr. Topalidis on this timely intervention, and eagerly await future iterations of the project.

The John O. Iatrides Dissertation Prize Committee was composed of Dr. Panayotis League (chair), Dr. Evdoxios Doxiadis, and Dr. Trine Stauning. The decision to award the prize to Dr. Topalidis was unanimous. 

Yiorgo Topalidis holds masters degrees in Microbiology and History from the University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University, respectively. He completed his dissertation work in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida. In the 2021 – 2022 academic year, Yiorgo was a Tedder and Rothman Fellow. His research interests in Historical Sociology include white identity construction, contestation, and transgenerational memory transfer. His work with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida on “Mapping Migration from Late Ottoman Empire to the United States between 1900 - 1924” earned him an MGSA Innovation Fund Grant in 2022.

The John O. Iatrides Prize is awarded to the best dissertation written in English with significant content in the field of Modern Greek Studies. The award this year covers works submitted over a three-year period. The award comes with a prize of $1,000; in addition the winner receives $500 toward symposium travel expenses and a one-year membership to the MGSA. The Award Ceremony will take place at the 27th MGSA Symposium on Thursday, October 13, 2022, in Toronto. 

We hope you will be able to join us at our Thursday night ceremony in Toronto!


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