School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Professor Violetta Hionidou

Professor of Modern European History


I am Professor of Modern European History at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. I am interested in all aspects of famines; birth control, abortion and fertility in historical populations; popular and modern Medicine in modern Greece; family history; women’s work; identities and experiences of exile of Pontic Greeks from the former USSR; and, more recently, experiences of being a refugee. My research is interdisciplinary, transcending the fields of Demography, Sociology, Human Geography and History. In all my work I have employed Oral History, tackling ‘difficult’ subjects, ranging from abortion, birth control and famine-memory in Greece to identity and exile in the Soviet Union. I am keen to extend the impact of my research to society, especially my research on family history. This is why I have created the Greek Family History website offering detailed guidance on how to undertake family history with Greek sources. I will be holding the visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University, Seeger Centre for Hellenic Studies in the summer of 2019. My research is published in elite peer reviewed journals, such as: Medical History, Population Studies, Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of the Social History of Medicine, Europe-Asia Studies, The History of the Family. An International Quarterly.

Areas of Expertise

Modern Greek History, Historical Demography, History of Medicine, Oral History.


  • BSc Mathematics (Athens, Greece)
  • MSc Operational Research (Athens, Greece)
  • MSc Demography (London School of Economics)
  • PhD Geography (University of Liverpool)

Previous Positions

  • Senior Lecturer in Modern European History, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University, 2009-2020
  • Lecturer in Modern European History, School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University, 2005-9
  • Visiting lecturer, MSc in Historical Demography, History Department, Ionian University, Greece, 2005
  • Lecturer in Social Statistics, Department of Sociology, University of Crete, Greece, 2004
  • Senior Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton, 1999-2002
  • Lecturer, Department of Social Statistics, University of Southampton, 1995-98
  • Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Liverpool, 1993-95

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, UK
  • British Society of Population Studies, UK
  • Modern Greek Studies Association, USA
  • Economic History Society, UK
  • European Society of Historical Demography
  • Society for Modern Greek Studies
  • Greek Oral History Association (EPI)
  • Local Population Studies

Administrative Roles and Responsibilities

  • Member of the University Ethics Committee, 2019-2022
  • Head of History 2015-18
  • Deputy Head of School HCA 2016-18
  • PGR Selector, History, 2016-18
  • PDR Reviewer, History, 2015-18
  • Shortlisting Committees and Interview Panels for RA, Lecturers and Senior Lecturers in History 2015-18
  • Shortlisting Committees and Interview Panels for Chairs in History 2015-2018
  • Member of the Research Committee of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology 2017-18
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology 2015-18
  • Chair of the Board of Examiners, History, 2006-7, 2015-18
  • Library Representative 2014-15
  • MOF Officer for the School of History, Classics and Archaeology 2009-15
  • Degree Programme Director for History 2006-7
  • Academic advisor and personal tutor for 30-40 students annually, 2005-
  • Managed Research Assistants in 7 projects.


  • Greek
  • English
  • Basic French
  • Basic Russian



Research Interests

  • Birth control, abortion and reproduction
  • Famines
  • Family History
  • Medicine in Modern Greece
  • Pontic Greeks

Funded Research Projects

  • Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Fellowship in Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, ‘Population movements in Occupied Greece: migration, displacement and their effects, 1941-1946’, £9,138.40,
  • ‘Greek Family History: Digital resources and Experiential Learning’, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, £9,751.92 (2016-9),
  • ‘Creation of a Chair, Research Hub and a Digital Archive in Oral History’, Research Investment Fund, Newcastle University, £665,313 (2015-7)
  • ‘Inputting nineteenth century Greek nominal Census records’, School of HCA funding, £3,000 (2015).
  • Wellcome Trust [082800/B/07/LS/HH (Strategic Award in History of Medicine)] awarded to the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine, £800 for the transcription of 11 interviews conducted in 2011 (2014)
  • Conscripts, heights and famines: anthropometric history in Modern Greece’, Faculty Research Fund, Newcastle University, £3,825 (2011)            
  • Household formation patterns and the welfare of the elderly in eighteenth and nineteenth century Kythira’, Faculty Research Fund, Newcastle University, £3,783 (2008)
  • ‘Pontic Greeks in former USSR: The experience of exile and 'return to homeland' through an oral history approach’, British Academy small research grant, £4,900 (2007)
  • ‘Public health and population dynamics during the 1941-42 Greek famine’, Wellcome Trust, £110,696 for three years, Personal post-doctoral Research Fellowship (advisor: Bernard Harris, University of Southampton) (1998-2001)
  • ‘Household Structure of a Nineteenth-century Greek Urban Population: Comparisons over time and across space’, The Nuffield Foundation, £5,000 for three months (1996)
  • ‘The Integration of Socio-economic and Demographic Development of Mediterranean Islands’, European Community, 94,757 ECU for 22 months, Human Capital and Mobility Personal Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, (Advisor: Robert Woods, University of Liverpool) (1994-1996)

Esteem Indicators

  • George Papaioannou Fellowship at American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2020)
  • Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton University, Seeger Centre for Hellenic Studies (2019)  
  • Assessor for the Greek Research Council ΓΓΕΤ
  • Co-winner of the 2007 Edmund Keely book award, Modern Greek Studies Association, USA for the book Famine and Death in Occupied Greece, 1941-44. Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy, and Society in Past Times Series, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • Reviewer for over 15 Journals:  Continuity and Change; Demography; Demographic Research; History of the Family; Journal of Biosocial Science; Journal of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies; Journal of Contemporary History; Journal of Family History; Journal of Modern Greek Studies; Journal of Population Research; Population Studies; Social History of Medicine; Social History; Southern European Society and Politics; War in History; AMHA - Acta Medico-Historica Adriatica, The Historical Journal.
  • Book proposal reviewer: Berghahn Books, Blackwell, Bloomsbury, Cambridge University Press, Harvard University Press
  • Research proposal reviewer: Irish Research Council, Wellcome Trust History of Medicine panel, National Science Center, Poland (PRELUDIUM project), Assessor for the Greek Research Council ΓΓΕΤ
  • External examiner (PhD: Volos University (2013); Southampton University (2008-11))
  • Invited speaker/public lectures (selection): ESSHC Belfast (2018), EFACIS conference A Coruna (2017), University of Crete (2016), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris (2016), Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (2015),
  • Mosaic Conference Budapest (2012), Max-Planck-Institute for Demographic Research Rostock (2010), University of Peloponnese, Greece (2010), Modern Greek Studies Seminars Oxford (2009), Greek Association Seminars Sydney Australia (2009), International Conference on Modern World Famines, University of Melbourne Australia (2009), Fondation des Treilles, Nice France (2003), Oxford (2003)
  • Organiser of the Historical Demography strand, BSPS Conference, 1998, 2010 and 2011; Co-organiser of Recovering Voice Conference with Jennifer Richards and Helen Shaddock, funded by NUHRI, 1st of June 2017; Co-organiser of Newcastle University European History Seminar seminars, 201; Co-organiser of the Civil Wars workshop led by Professor Stathis Kalyvas 2018

Research Networks

    • Violetta Hionidou (Newcastle University), M. Nazou (Universite Catholique de Louvain) and Y. Gassias (University of Crete), Μυκονιάτικη κοινωνία και ανασκαφές στη Δήλο, 1873-1914 (The society of Mykonos and the Delos excavations, 1873-1914). Funded by École Française d’Athénes, 2017-21.
    • Member of the SHiP-network (Studying the history of Health in Port cities). Network leader: Professor Angelique Janssens (Radboud University Nijmegen). Funded for 2018-21.
    • Societies Under German Occupation: Experiences and Everyday Life in World War II ( Project leaders: Professor Tatjana Tönsmeyer (University of Wuppertal) and Professor Peter Haslinger (Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe – Institute of the Leibniz Association/University of Gießen). Area expert for Greece and partner of the project: Violetta Hionidou. First phase of the project was funded by the Leibniz Association.
    • Advisory board Member for Heritages of Hunger: Societal Reflections on Past European Famines in Education, Commemoration and Musealisation. Principal Investigator Dr Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University), Co-Investigators Prof. Lotte Jensen (Radboud University) and Dr Ingrid de Zwarte (NIOD), funded by NWO for 5 years.


    Teaching Roles

    Degree Programme Director for History, 2006-7.

    Undergraduate Teaching

    • HIS1029: Varieties in History (Module Leader)
    • HIS2083: Hunger, disease and death: Famines in History (Module Leader)
    • HIS2128: Modern Greece (with a field-trip to Athens) (Module Leader)
    • HIS3021: The history of birth control in the 19th and 20th centuries (Module Leader)
    • HIS3008: Reading history
    • HIS3020: Writing history
    • HIS3101: Health and death: Mortality in the 19th and 20th centuries (Module Leader)
    • POL1000: Study skills for politics and history
    • HIS3030: History and Society
    • HIS2040 Greece from Ancient times to the 21st century: Interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the past (Module Leader)
    • Migration (Module Leader)
    • Population Analysis I (Module Leader)
    • Seminar Series (Module Leader)
    • Introduction to Demography
    • Fertility, Biology and Behaviour
    • Social Statistics (Module Leader)

    Postgraduate Teaching

    • HIS8061: The Practice of History (Module Leader)
    • HSS8026: The History of Birth Control in the 19th and 20th centuries (Module Leader)
    • HIS8052: Conflict in European History 
    • HIS8053: Conflict in European History: case studies
    • HIS8098: Research Skills and Dissertation Training
    • HIS8107 Independent Study Project
    • SHS8127 The Patient in History
    • SHS8128 Diseases in History
    • Historical Demography

    PhD Supervision

    • Rob Granger (2019- )
    • Michail Raftakis (Self-Funded, awarded 2019)
    • John Burke (Self-Funded, awarded 2015)

    PhD Examinations

    • Newcastle (Geography)
    • Newcastle (History)
    • Newcastle (History of Medicine)
    • Volos, Greece (Historical Demography)