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The Cyprus Problem in Literature and Theory



Volume 10 (2017) 

The Cyprus Problem in Literature and Theory

Roger Christofides

Special Issue Editor

In the summer of 1974, inter-communal conflict, a coup d’état sponsored by the military junta in Greece and a subsequent Turkish invasion violently divided Cyprus, separating the island’s two major communities indefinitely. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Nicosia is now the world’s only divided capital city. As with all Middle Eastern conflicts, there are many complicated, even paradoxical, reasons for the events that led to the war of 1974 and the repeated failures since to reunify Cyprus, but one constant has remained: during both British rule and post-colonial independence the struggle to disambiguate Cyprus, to define Cyprus in Greek or Turkish terms, has been more powerful than other, more inclusive, ‘pro-Cypriot’ visions. Consequently, successive rounds of reunification talks are still haunted by rigid, inflexible understandings of how Cyprus should be defined.

Until now, contributions to the debates surrounding the Cyprus Problem have come mostly from the disciplines of history and anthropology or, more recently, politics and peace studies. Literary studies and the theoretical approaches used in literary studies have yet to make a significant contribution to these debates. This Special Issue, then, sets out to establish the ways in which Cyprus has been represented in literature, what these representations tell us about Cypriot society, and how theoretical approaches offer us ways to think through the impasses arrived at by repeated attempts at reunification. In short, how can literature and theory help us to contribute to this ongoing geopolitical concern?

The Special Issue, ‘The Cyprus Problem in Literature and Theory’, invites submissions that address the Cyprus Problem and the division of the island between its Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking communities. Contributors to this Special Issue might consider how literary representations and theoretical approaches can enable us to think beyond mainstream understandings of identity on the island as either Greek or Turkish or how they help us to re-evaluate the island’s colonial and postcolonial troubles. To what extent, for example, do representations of Cyprus in British literature reinforce – or indeed undermine – colonial attitudes and policies? How does literature from Cyprus articulate the complex relationships between the island’s communities? In what way can a theoretical approach – whether it is deconstruction, psychoanalysis, actor-network theory or any other methodological framework used in literary studies – create paths to new and liberating understandings of Cypriot culture and society? Are there innovative methodological frameworks for, or conceptual approaches to, criticism that can liberate or unlock studies of Cyprus in ways that existing scholarly practices do not?

Possible topics include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Representations of Cyprus in any period of English literature
  • Representations of Cyprus in any period of Turkish and Greek literature
  • Contemporary Cypriot literature of any form
  • Anglo-Cypriot literature (or literature produced in any other diaspora environments)
  • Constructions of Cypriot nationhood in literature or theory
  • Literary accounts of war
  • Nationalism and national identity in Cyprus
  • Underrepresented Cypriots, such as Maronites and Armenians or, more recently, Eastern European and South- and South-East Asian communities


Abstracts of 300 words should be submitted to Roger Christofides at rchristofides[at]hotmail[dot]com by 30 November 2014.

Notification of acceptance will be delivered by 1 February 2015.

Accepted articles should be submitted by 1 October 2015.

Articles should be 6,000-7,000 words long and include a short biography of no more than 300 words. All inquiries regarding this issue should be sent to the guest editor, Roger Christofides, at the above email address.