Armenian Studies Program to Hold Two-Day International Conference on ‘Armenians, Greeks, and Kurds: A People’s History of the Ottoman Empire’

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FRESNO — The Armenian Studies Program will hold an international conference exploring the topic of “Armenians, Greeks, and Kurds: A People’s History of the Ottoman Empire” to be held on Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23. The conference will be held in the University Business Center (5245 N. Backer Ave.), A. Peters Auditorium, Room 191 on the Fresno State campus.

Ottoman history is often studied through the lens of Ottoman Turkish archives, sometime neglecting the important contribution of Armenian and other sources to the construction of that history. The invited scholars are innovators in this area utilizing Armenian and other archival sources for their papers. The Conference focuses on the pre-1915 Genocide period in the Ottoman Empire, with papers featuring micro-histories of various regions.

The conference is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities and the Department of History at Fresno State. The Thomas A. Kouymjian Family Foundation, the Leon S. Peters Foundation and the M. Victoria Kazan Fund for Armenian Studies are supporters of the conference.

Armenian Studies Program Coordinator Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian and Dr. Ümit Kurt (Harvard University) are co-organizers of the conference.

Der Mugrdechian will open the Conference at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 22 in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191. An hors d’oeuvres reception will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the University Business Center Gallery, just prior to the conference.

Following the opening address, the first session will open with three panelists: Owen Miller (Union University) “The Colonization of the Mountains: Sasun, Zeytun and Dersim at the End of the Ottoman Empire”; David Gutman (Manhattanville College) “The Sojourners of Harput (Kharpert): At the Intersection of the Local, the Imperial, and the Global”; and Ugur Z. Peçe (Harvard University) “From Ballots to Barracks: The Conscription of non-Muslims at a Time of Parliamentary Politics in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1912.”

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The conference will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 23, with two sessions, the first chaired by Dr. Sergio La Porta, Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at Fresno State. All Saturday sessions will take place in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191.

Session I will feature presentations by Emre Can Daglioglu (Clark University) “Intra-Imperial Space and Anti-Armenian Violence in the Ottoman Empire: The Aghtamar Catholicos Khatchadur III and the 1895 Van Massacre”; Varak Ketsemanian (Princeton University) “The Armenian Revolutionary Movement between Ideologies and Paradoxes: A Case Study of the Hunchakian Party Program (1890-1896)”; and Ümit Kurt (Harvard University) “The Breakdown of a Previously Peaceful Coexistence: The Aintab Armenian Massacres of 1895.”

Following a coffee break the Conference will conclude with two more papers: Nilay Özok-Gündogan (Florida State University) on “Can One Save the Voices of the ‘Ordinary’ Kurds from ‘the Enormous Condescension of Posterity?’ Thoughts on Writing the Social History of the Kurds in the Ottoman Empire” and Janet Klein, (University of Akron) “Armenian Minorityhood in Ottoman and Russian History and Historiography?”.

All sessions and the reception are free and open to the public.

For more information about the conference visit www.fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

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