FAIR LAWN, NJ—On Tuesday, May 11 at 7:30 PM ET, join historians Ümit Kurt and Dirk Moses for a conversation on Kurt’s new book: The Armenians of Aintab: The Economics of Genocide in an Ottoman Province.
“If genocide, as a practice that includes murder and plunder, is orchestrated by a central authority but implemented at the local level,” Kurt asks, “what is the relationship between local and central authorities? What are the incentives and motives that lead to mass participation?”
In his new book, Kurt challenges the depiction that state-sponsored genocide in all its dimensions could be carried out by the central government by edict and, instead, examines how local actors and even ordinary Muslims are complicit.
To borrow from former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, Kurt shows how “all genocide is local” and invokes Donald Bloxham and Moses’ observation that “location tells us much about the political calculus underpinning genocide.”
Kurt and Moses will examine how primary sources from Armenian, Ottoman, Turkish, British and French archives, as well as memoirs, personal papers, oral accounts and newly discovered property-liquidation records together provide an invaluable account of genocide at ground level.
Kurt, a historian of the modern Middle East with a research focus on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, specializes in the late Ottoman socio-economic history, the Armenian Genocide, mass violence and interethnic conflicts. His broader training also includes the comparative empires, population movements, history of the Ottoman urban and local elites, wealth transfer and nationalism. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of History at Clark University. He is a former post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, the current Polonsky Fellow at Jerusalem’s Van Leer institute and teaches in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Moses is the Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History. Raised in Australia of parents with professional interests in German history, Moses naturally gravitated to the study of the Australian and German pasts.
While completing his first book, “German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past” (2007), he edited three anthologies on genocide and colonialism: “Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children” (2004), “Colonialism and Genocide” (2007), and “Empire, Colony Genocide: Conquest, Occupation and Subaltern Resistance in World History” (2008).
Since then, he has been researching postcolonial conflict in Africa and South Asia for his project on the “Diplomacy of Genocide.” His investigation of the origins and function of the genocide concept appears in his second monograph, “The Problems of Genocide” (2021). Dirk is also working on “Genocide and the Terror of History” about traumatic memory and the constitution of genocidal subjectivities. In his spare time, he edits the “Journal of Genocide Research.”
Register to spend an evening in conversation with Kurt and Moses and discover why Raymond Kevorkian writes that Kurt’s work is a “perfect illustration of a local story yielding broad historical insights.”
The event is jointly sponsored by AGBU Ararat, Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party-Ramgavars, Armenian Network of America—Greater NY, Daughters of Vartan-Sahaganoush Otyag, Knights of Vartan-Bakradouny Lodge, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and Saint Leon Armenian Church.