Recent Publications

Two books by Violetta Hionidou

Violetta Hionidou, Abortion and Contraception in Modern Greece, 1830-1967. Medicine, Sexuality and Popular Culture, The book examines the history of abortion and contraception in Modern Greece from the time of its creation in the 1830s to 1967, soon after the Pill became available. It situates the history of abortion and contraception within the historiography of the fertility decline and the question of whether the decline was due to adjustment to changing social conditions or innovation of contraceptive methods. The study reveals that all methods had been in use for other purposes before they were employed as contraceptives. For example, Greek women were employing emmenagogues well before fertility was controlled; they did so in order to ‘put themselves right’ and to enhance their fertility. When they needed to control their fertility, they employed abortifacients, some of which were also emmenagogues, while others had been used as expellants in earlier times. Curettage was also employed since the late nineteenth century as a cure for sterility; once couples desired to control their fertility curettage was employed to procure abortion. Thus couples did not need to innovate but rather had to repurpose old methods and materials to new birth control methods. Furthermore, the role of physicians was found to have been central in advising and encouraging the use of birth control for ‘health’ reasons, thus facilitating and speeding fertility decline in Greece. All this occurred against the backdrop of a state and a church that were at times neutral and at other times disapproving of fertility control.

Violetta Hionidou, H κατοχική πείνα μέσα από προφορικές μαρτυρίες. Η περίπτωση της Χίου, της Σύρου και της Μυκόνου (The Greek Famine of the 1940s through Oral Histories. The cases of Hios, Syros and Mykonos) (Athens: Patakis publishers, 2020),

At a time when Oral History is increasingly becoming important in Greek Historiography, this book brings a new gaze in understanding the Greek Famine od 1941-44 and how the memory of historical events can change overtime. The book offers extensive excerpts of oral histories conducted with people who experienced the famine as adults. These interviews were conducted by the author approximately 20 years ago on the islands of Mykonos, Syros and Hios. They help us understand the famine epoch, the everyday life of the people and the multitude of ways they responded to the circumstances they faced. The famine experiences of the three islands differed one from the other and differed from those of Athens. Twenty years after the interviews were conducted and following an economic crisis that turned the attention of the Greek historiography to the Occupation years, these interviews acquire a new significance: they provide us with the experiences of witnesses of the Occupation and the Famine, before they experienced the crisis decade, thus offering us testimonies unaffected by the economic crisis and the political ‘use’ of the Occupation.

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