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Center for Armenian Studies Events

For previous years' guest speakers and topics, please visit the Center for Armenian Studies poster and flyer archive.

We also encourage you to check out a selection of CAS video recordings on our Videos of Past Events page and on our YouTube channel.

CAS Workshop | Modern State and "Internal" Colonialism

People, Places, and Power across Empire and Nation-State
Friday, November 4, 2022
9:30 AM-5:30 PM
2210 ABC (2nd Floor) Michigan Union Map
In parallel to the process of external colonization around the world, modern state makers simultaneously conquered and colonized people and places within their territorial boundaries by rendering them legible through knowledge production and manageable through force, coercion, intimidation, and, at times, reward. Mountains, deserts, and valleys that have sustained ecosystems of livelihood beyond the control of, and often despite, central administrations became the last bastions of coexistence challenging the expansion of modern state. Scholars such as Harold Wolpe, Rivera Cusicanqui, Robert Blauner, Michael Hechter, James Scott, and Uğur Ümit Üngör have applied the theory of internal colonialism to state-making processes in places as far and wide as, respectively, South Africa, Latin America, North/Black America, England, Southeast Asia, and Turkey. Seemingly provincial yet global in scale, such a wide-ranging applicability shows that internal colonialism has been as widespread and crucial as external colonization—i.e., colonialism par excellence—in the making of the modern world.

This workshop brings together scholars whose works challenge disciplinary boundaries and existing periodizations and who engage creatively with underrepresented themes and groups in different parts of the world. The main objective is to explore different approaches to intercommunal relations and environmental circumstances before, during, and after the absorption of nonstate people and places into a centrally administered modern state. By employing approaches outside state-society, center-periphery, and sovereign-subject dichotomies in conversation with one another, we hope to qualify the metanarratives of collective communal violence that treat ethnic and religious communities as hostile and monolithic entities. The workshop hopes to shed light on the role of the modern state in transforming intercommunal relations and in shaping collective memories.

To these ends, the first panel discusses narratives of cohabitation and state evasion in the imperial and post-imperial settings. The second panel discusses the transformation of ecosystems of coexistence outside direct state control and the ways in which such pasts are remembered. The roundtable brings together both sets of panelists to discuss internal colonialism as a conceptual framework in exploring the processes of modern state-making and its role in transforming people and places, both in history and memory.

November 4, 2022 Program

09:30 - 9:45 Tea/Coffee

9:45 -10:00 Opening Remarks and Introductions
Gottfried Hagen, University of Michigan
Hakem Al-Rustom, University of Michigan
Cevat Dargın, University of Michigan

10:00 - 11:15 Keynote Speaker
Ussama Makdisi, University of California, Berkeley
"Coexistence in an Age of Genocide"

11:15 -11:30 Break

11:30 - 1:30 Panel I: Cohabitation, Conflict, and Internal Colonialism
Moderator and commentator: Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan

Panelist 1: Christopher Gratien, University of Virginia
"Ahmet Cevdet's Civilizing Mission in Cilicia"

Panelist 2: Zozan Pehlivan, University of Minnesota
"The Empire of Priorities: Ottoman State Policies in the Age of Scarcity"

Panelist 3: Cevat Dargın, University of Michigan
Title: The Kizilbash Kurds' Dangerous Mission: Smuggling Armenian Genocide "The Kizilbash Kurds' Dangerous Mission: Smuggling Armenian Genocide
Survivors to Safety During World War I"
1:30 - 2:30 Lunch

2:30 - 4:30 Panel II: Transcolonial Existences, Violence, and Remembrance
Moderator and Commentator: Kathryn Babayan, University of Michigan

Panelist 1: Robert Sukiasyan, Armenian Collection at the Shoah Foundation
"Digital Map of Deportations of Armenians of Sivas/Sepastia Province during
the Armenian Genocide"

Panelist 2: Hazal Özdemir, Northwestern University
"They Vowed Never to Return: Armenian Transatlantic Mobility and
Denaturalization at the end of the Ottoman Empire"

Panelist 3: Roxana Maria Aras, University of Michigan
"In Search for Futures Lost: Waqf, Parish, and Locality among Rum Orthodox
in Beirut"

4:30 - 4:45 Break

4:45 - 5:30 Roundtable Discussion
Moderator: Juan Cole, University of Michigan

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Michigan Union
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: armenia, International
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Armenian Studies, The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Department of Middle East Studies, International Institute, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History