“Who is a Survivor in a Genocide? The Gendered Silencing of Islamized Armenian Survivors in Turkey”

12:00 pm on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
1:30 pm on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Anthropology Seminar Room, 232 BSR #102
Ayşe Gül Altınay Assistant Professor, Sabanci University (Istanbul) An unknown number of young Armenians survived the massacres of 1915 as adopted daughters and sons of Muslim families. Fewer others became wives and, in exceptional cases, husbands. While some of these survivors (particularly young men) re-united with their families or relatives in later years, or were taken into orphanages by missionaries and relief workers, many others lived the rest of their lives as “Muslims,” taking on Turkish, Kurdish, or Arabic names. Until recently, the stories of these survivors have been silenced, either in the form of total erasure or of serious trivialization by all historiographies. Based on a critical reading of various historiographies, memoirs and fiction on Islamized Armenians, as well as interviews with their "grandchildren" from different parts of Turkey, the presentation discusses the implications of both this historical silence and the recent forms of unsilencing for contemporary academic and political debates, and asks questions about the category of “the survivor” in genocide scholarship. RSVP to palmerm@bu.edu