Dr. Lerna Ekmekcioglu, McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will speak about her recent book Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2016) on Nov. 29, at 7:15 p.m. in the Trustees Pavilion of Ramapo College.
Ekmekcioglu’s book follows the trajectories of the survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide who remained inside Turkish borders after the signing of the 1918 Mudros Armistice (and during the Allied occupation years of Istanbul) and after the 1923 establishment of the new country as the Turkish Republic.
How did the Kemalist state treat the remaining Armenians? What were Armenians’ responses to the new (but also old) Turkish regime? Dr. Ekmekcioglu will discuss multiple strategies Armenians improvised in order to cohabit with unapologetic perpetrators and survive in the new Turkey.
She gives voice to the community’s most prominent public figures, notably Hayganush Mark, a renowned activist, feminist, and editor of the influential journal Hay Gin. These public figures articulated an Armenianess sustained through gendered differences, and women came to play a central role in preserving traditions, memory, and the mother tongue within the home.
Ekmekcioglu is an historian of the modern Middle East and an affiliate of the Women and Gender Studies Program as well as the Center for International Studies. She specializes in Turkish and Armenian lands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her work focuses on minority-majority relationships and the ways in which gendered analytical lenses help us better understand coexistence and conflict, including genocide.
She holds a B.A. from Bogazici University (Istanbul) in Sociology, and a Ph.D. in History and Middle East and Islamic Studies from New York University, 2010. With Melissa Bilal, she also co-edited Bir Adalet Feryadı: Osmanlı’dan Cumhuriyet’e Beş Ermeni Feminist Yazar (1862–1933) [A Cry for Justice: Five Armenian Feminist Writers from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic (1862–1933)] (Istanbul: Aras Publishing House, 2006).