Alex Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian History; Assistant Professor, History/Anthropology
My work is situated in the intersection between social anthropology and history where I focus on the ruins of undocumented histories, ethnographic silences, memory, and nation-state building in Middle East and the Balkans—or what I prefer to call ‘post-Ottoman societies’. I am currently working on a book manuscript on the unwritten history of the Armenian citizens of Turkey that builds on settler colonial literature to depict the Armenian experience as it unravelled with nation-state building in Turkey. Based on ethnographic and archival work in France and Turkey, the book critiques the writing of ethnocentric history by positioning the fragmented episodes of Anatolian Armenian past in the wider Turkish republican history.
Generally, my research seeks to find alternative approaches to the study post-Ottoman histories and societies by brining the historical context of the Balkans in shaping the contemporary Middle East. It seeks to interrogate settler colonial literature to situate state-building projects, the politics of “minorities”/“majorities” in governing population diversity, legally ambiguous populations, and sectarianism in everyday life. In addition to my work on Anatolian Armenians, I am interested in marginal populations such as Christians and Mizrahi/Arab Jews in the Middle East and Muslims in the Balkans and France.
My work has been largely informed by the critiques of Walter Benjamin and Edward Said as I navigate ways of storytelling, politics of representation, and the authorship of texts in ethnography and historiography. I am co-founding member of the ‘Reading Walter Benjamin’ network, and continue to serve on the steering committee of the ‘Theory and Practice Workshop in the Humanities and Social Sciences’ at the American University in Cairo, where I taught before joining U-M.
- Arabic: Fluent (Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian colloquial, and Levantine colloquial)
- French: Advanced
- Turkish: Intermediate
- Armenian: Reading knowledge
- Ottoman Turkish: Reading knowledge
- Greek, liturgical: Reading knowledge
- Silences and absences; the state; indigeneity; displacement and migration; storytelling; anthropology of history.
- Middle East; Balkans; Post-Ottoman societies; modern Armenians; Turkey; modern France; Middle Eastern Christians and Islam
- From Natives to Foreigners: Armenians in Turkey and the Diaspora
- History, Memory, and Silence
- Christians of the Middle East: The Armenian Experience
- Program in Anthropology and History
- Armenian Studies Program
- Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
- Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies
‘Rethinking the “Post-Ottoman”: Anatolian Armenians as an Ethnographic Perspective’ in Anthropology of the Middle East. Soraya Altorki, ed. Blackwell, 2015.
‘Diaspora Activism and the Politics of Locality: The Armenians of France’ in Diaspora and Transnational Studies Companion. Ato Quayson and Girish Daswani, eds. Blackwell, 2013.
‘The Arab/Jewish Counterpoint: An Interview with Daniel Barenboim on the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’ in Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation, 2010.
Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation. University of California Press, 2010 (co-editor).