New Book: The Vanishing Greek Americans – A Crisis of Identity
The process by which successive ethnic groups shape and are themselves reshaped by the cultural values of their adopted country is the social history of an entire people. No ethnic group can be viewed as an isolated phenomenon, but only in its interaction with the larger society, one that can prove validating or invalidating for ethnic members.
There is no overarching sociological theory that can place all the various and diverse ethnic groups under one rubric, but we can examine each one contextually and comparatively, in a quest for ethnic understanding.
This book by Alice Scourby, Professor Emerita of Sociology at Long Island University, forwarded by Professor Alexander Kitroef, on the Greek Americans is just such a quest. It follows the lead of Max Weber who held that the key to interpretive sociology is not only to observe and measure, but also to share in the world of meaning. The Greek Americans are an ethno/religious group, allied with the Greek Orthodox Church, whose historic ties to ancient Greece, Byzantium, and modern Greece sets them apart from most other white European ethnics.
In 1967, Alice Scourby, Ph.D. joined the C. W. Post academic community. She served as a faculty member and Chair in the Sociology and Anthropology Departments at LIU Post. She was a pioneer who made important contributions to LIU as well as the Greek-American Community. In 1974, she established and became Coordinator of the first program at C. W. Post to offer a Minor in Women’s Studies. While championing women’s issues, she took on the study of the “Middle Age Years”. She published six books and numerous articles and lectured on ethnicity and gender studies throughout the United States and abroad. Scourby was heralded for her ethnographic work in her book “The Greek Americans”. She was one of the original founders of the Greek-American Women’s Network (G.A.W.N) in 1990.
Dr. Scourby won many awards such as the Second Annual Greek World Award from the Greek World Magazine in 1978 and LIU’s honorary Trustees Award for Scholarship Achievement (TASA) in 1986. In 1999, she received an invitation from Alan G. Hevesi, Comptroller of the City of New York, to be a one of few distinguished honorees at the City’s Greek Heritage and Culture Celebration. Though Alice Scourby’s death in 2009 was a great loss for the LIU community, her legacy remains vital and inspirational.