Students on a theater trip in Iceland.

George and Irina Schaeffer Center

“Use Consoling Words for our Butchered Nation”: Armenian Feminists’ Post-Genocide Expectations from their Turkish Counterparts

This is a virtual event | Registration is required | Central European Time
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 18:00
A lecture by Prof. Lerna Ekmekcioglu

The immediate aftermath of the genocide was a time of both misery and hope for Armenians. Emboldened by the Ottoman defeat, Allies’ occupation of the Ottoman capital and their wartime promises for justice, Armenian feminists of Constantinople did not shy away from asking Turkish women to acknowledge the damage and help Armenians stitch back their broken nation. Once the Turkish Republic was founded, such discourses metamorphosed into one that celebrated secular modernity. Silences took over.  They have since been now normalized. The talk explores the trajectories of gendered solidarity and its absence in the face of catastrophe.

After Prof. Ekmekcioglu's talk, Dr. Elyse Semerdjian will comment her lecture.

Lerna Ekmekcioglu

Lerna Ekmekcioglu is McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program. Together with Melissa Bilal, she is the co-editor of the 2006 book in Turkish titled A Cry for Justice: Five Armenian Feminist Writers from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic (1862–1933). Her first monograph, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey, came out from Stanford University Press in 2016. Currently she is collaborating with Melissa Bilal for Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology and Digital Archive which focuses on the life and works of twelve pioneering women intellectuals from 1860s to 1960s.

Elyse Semerdjian

Elyse Semerdjian is Professor of Islamic World/Middle Eastern History at Whitman College and the President of the Syrian Studies Association. A specialist in the history of the Ottoman Empire and Syria, she authored “Off the Straight Path”: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo (Syracuse University Press, 2008) as well as several articles on gender, sexuality, non-Muslims, and law in the Ottoman Empire. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.  Her forthcoming book titled Remnants: Encrypted Bodies, Gender, and Memory of the Armenian Genocide examines embodiment and sexual atrocity during the Armenian Genocide.


Registrants will receive the information to join the event via email, 24 hours prior to the start date. Please note that the lecture will take place at 18:00 Central European Time.



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