February 10 and 11, 2022
Participate virtually by registering in advance for the webinars. You need one registration to attend the two-day workshop.
After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.
Organizers: Matthew Ghazarian and Helen Makhdoumian, 2021-22 Manoogian Postdoctoral Fellows with faculty advisors Hakem Al-Rustom, Alex Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian History, and Melanie Tanielian, Director of the Center for Armenian Studies.
This workshop focuses on the historical instances and aesthetic representations of dispossession, its violence, and its persisting legacies in the former Ottoman Empire and its diasporas. The organizers hope to bring Ottoman, Middle Eastern, and Armenian studies into conversation with settler colonial studies, critical Indigenous studies, and global histories of colonialism and capitalism. Invoking dispossession as a point of comparison and the framework for the discussion, the workshop joins recent work in Armenian studies and Ottoman studies, which has begun to explore chains of displacement and dispossession under conditions of what some have called internal colonization (Üngör and Polatel; Bloxham). The aim is to put these works into conversation with the distinct yet inseparable fields of settler colonial and Indigenous studies, and ask how they might inform, learn from, and complicate understandings of territorial removal, the settler/native binary, and Indigenous transnationalisms.
The two panels work towards an expansive understanding of dispossession. The first panel, “Displacement and Dispossession in the Late Ottoman Empire,” explores waves of displacement and the creation and seizure of property. It takes up the influx of Muslim refugees into Ottoman domains, the connected dispossessions of the Hamidian Massacres and Armenian Genocide, shifting property regimes in the Ottoman Mashriq, and famine and dispossession in the Ottoman East.
The second panel, “Memory, Narrative, and Aesthetic Form,” takes up representations of dispossession and its legacies, with a focus on film, literature, and testimony. It features analyses of a film on the silences of a Greek Orthodox woman dispossessed from the Black Sea region in 1916, of settlement and state memory work in an Armenian American and American Indian novel, and of lived memory practices pertaining to the 1915 Armenian and 1994 Rwandan genocides.
The workshop concludes with a roundtable discussion on dispossession, memory, settler colonial studies, and indigeneity in Ottoman and Armenian studies. In it, panelists reflect on how these concepts have factored or could factor into their work, and how these frameworks, largely rooted in other fields, might speak to the Middle East and Anatolia.
Co-sponsors: Department of American Culture, Department of English Language & Literature, Department of History, Donia Human Rights Center, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of Sociology, and Society for Armenian Studies.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2022
5 – 7 PM KEYNOTE ADDRESSES
Opening Remarks and Introductions: Melanie Tanielian, University of Michigan and
Matthew Ghazarian, University of Michigan
Robert Nichols, University of Minnesota
“Dispossession in Global Comparative Context”
Dirk Moses, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Settlers and Security: Structures and Subjectivity in State-Formation”
Moderator: Helen Makhdoumian, University of Michigan
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2022
10 AM – 12 PM DISPLACEMENT AND DISPOSSESSION IN THE LATE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
Opening Remarks: Matthew Ghazarian, University of Michigan
Nora Barakat, Stanford University
“Building an Ottoman National Economy: Land, Religious Identity and Capital Expansion in the Syrian Interior, 1850-1915”
Ella Fratantuono, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
“Failing Upward: Critique, Contestation, and State Consolidation through Ottoman Immigrant Settlement”
Matthew Ghazarian, University of Michigan
“Precarities of Plenty: Famine and Sovereign Debt in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1881-94”
Mehmet Polatel, Hrant Dink Foundation
“Land and Violence: Tracing the Links between the Hamidian Massacres and the Armenian Genocide”
Discussant: Robert Nichols, University of Minnesota
12 – 12:30 PM Break
12:30 – 2:30 PM MEMORY, NARRATIVE, AND AESTHETIC FORM
Opening Remarks: Helen Makhdoumian, University of Michigan
Jacob Caponi, University of Michigan and Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan
“How Difficult Pasts Complicate the Present: Comparative Analysis of the 1915 Armenian Genocide and 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda”
Elyse Semerdjian, Whitman College
“If These Bones Could Speak: The Genesis of Armenian Pilgrimage to Dayr al-Zur”
Claire Baytas, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
“Patterns of Marginalization in Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s Waiting for the Clouds”
Helen Makhdoumian, University of Michigan
“When the Study of ‘Settler Mnemonics’ Meets the Study of Literature”
Discussant: Dirk Moses, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2:30 – 2:45 PM Break
2:45 – 4:45 PM DISPOSSESSION, MEMORY, AND INDIGENEITY IN OTTOMAN AND ARMENIAN STUDIES: ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
Melissa Bilal, University of California, Los Angeles; Keith David Watenpaugh, University of California, Davis;
Ruken Şengül, University of California, Los Angeles; Kabir Tambar, Stanford University.
Moderator: Hakem Al-Rustom, University of Michigan