By Cindy Hunter Morgan
More than 100 years after the Armenian Genocide, an event at MSU Libraries will offer the campus community an opportunity to learn about a little-known aspect of that history: the underground network of humanitarians, missionaries and diplomats who helped save thousands of lives in Syria. The event on October 4 at 7 pm will feature Dr. Khatchig Mouradian, whose new book from MSU Press presents a social history of genocide and resistance in wartime Aleppo; challenges depictions of Armenians as passive victims; and argues that despite violent and systematic mechanisms of control and destruction, unarmed resistance to genocide saved many lives. The event is free and open to all, and people may choose to attend in person in the Green Room (W444) of the Main Library or virtually on Zoom.
MSU Dean of Libraries Joseph Salem said Dr. Mouradian’s visit to the Library will advance and strengthen important conversations about global history, culture, research and humanity. “We’re deeply engaged in and committed to the work of transformative research at MSU Libraries,” Salem said. “Mouradian’s research, and the book that came out of that research, can help us understand the Armenian Genocide in new ways. We celebrate his work and we encourage our campus community and those in our wider community to join us for this event, which is one of many ways we are working to expand underrepresented perspectives not only in our collections but also in our programs and discussions.”
Dr. Mouradian’s book, The Resistance Network, was published by Michigan State University Press earlier this year. It pieces together hundreds of accounts, official documents and missionary records, and it incorporates new sources and perspectives. MSU Middle East Studies Librarian Deborah Margolis, who helped organize the program, said the book and the event have considerable interdisciplinary appeal. “Readers will find an exploration of the roles of women and children, and they’ll find that Mouradian’s work is informed by Holocaust studies,” Margolis said. “Those elements distinguish this book from other accounts of this history, but one of the most significant features of Mouradian’s work is the geographic component. Mouradian worked with Armenian and Ottoman sources, and those sources give us voices we haven’t heard before – voices we need to hear.”
Margolis also shared her enthusiasm for the book’s potential to impact Michigan high school students. “I’m very excited that social studies teachers have been specifically invited to this event. Education about the Armenian Genocide is mandated by Michigan law, and there is a good chance some teachers will adapt content from Mouradian’s book into their lessons. That would be another example of how transformative research continues to transform students, and it would be another example of the role MSU Libraries have in making that happen!”
Khatchig Mouradian, PhD, is a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University, and the Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress (African and Middle Eastern Division). His visit to Michigan State University is part of MSU Press’ 75th anniversary. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of History, Muslim Studies Program, Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Asian Studies Center, Peace & Justice Studies.
Book signing will be available at the conclusion of the program.
Established in 1947 as the scholarly publishing arm of Michigan State University, MSU Press has nearly one-thousand titles in print and a national reputation. In the last dozen years alone, its publications have garnered more than 150 regional and national awards. Its mission has been to act as a catalyst for positive intellectual, social, and technological change through the publication of research and intellectual inquiry, making significant contributions to scholarship in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Press’ journals division publishes 15 award-winning academic journals, all available digitally, that span a wide variety of academic disciplines.
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