Columbia to host panel on “Armenians, Kurds, and the Early Turkish Republic”

NEW YORK, NY—A panel discussion on “Armenians, Kurds, and the Early Turkish Republic” will be held at Columbia University on Monday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m.

Organized by the Armenian Center at Columbia University and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), the event features scholars Janet Klein (Akron University, Ohio), Ümit Kurt (University of Newcastle, Australia), Amy Austin Holmes (George Washington University, DC), and Khachatur Stepanyan (Armenian State Pedagogical University, Armenia). Khatchig Mouradian (Columbia University, NY) will moderate the panel.

The panel will be held at Knox Hall 208 (606 West 122nd Street, New York, NY 10027). For questions, contact Mouradian at

Dr. Klein will discuss “The Minoritization of Armenians and Kurds in the Late-Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic.” Klein is professor of history at the University of Akron. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Montana and her master’s and Ph.D. from Princeton University. Her book The Margins of Empire: Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zone was published by Stanford University Press in 2011 and translated into Turkish in 2013. Dr. Klein has also authored numerous articles and book chapters on various topics related to late-Ottoman and Kurdish history and is currently working on the construction of minorities in the late-Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman states.  

The title of Dr. Kurt’s presentation is “Modern Bandits in Transition from Late Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic: A Story of Property Transfer in Aintab from Warlords to Urban/Republican Elite.” Kurt is a historian of the modern Middle East. He completed his dissertation in the Department of History at Clark University in 2016. He has then held several postdoctoral positions at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University and the Polonsky Academy in the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and worked as a visiting assistant professor in the Armenian Studies Program at California State University (CSU) Fresno. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the School of Humanities, Creative Ind. and Social Sciences (History) in the University of Newcastle. His recent book The Armenians of Aintab has been the recipient of the Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies, Honorable Mention Book Prize by Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (OTSA), and PROSE Award Finalist in the World History category, the Association of American Publishers in 2022. He is also the author of Antep 1915: Genocide and Perpetrators (İletişim, 2018) and the co-author of The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (Berghahn, 2015).  

Dr. Holmes will explore “Escapees of the State: Armenians and Kurds in the Republic of Mount Ararat.” She is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at the Elliott School of George Washington University. She holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University and has published on the global American military posture, the NATO alliance, non-state actors, revolutions and military coups. Previously, Dr. Holmes served as a tenured associate professor of sociology at the American University in Cairo, and as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. Her first book Social Unrest and American Military Bases in Turkey and Germany since 1945 (Cambridge University Press) integrated the study of contentious politics and US security relations with NATO allies Turkey and Germany. Her second book Coups and Revolutions: Mass Mobilization, the Egyptian Military and the United States from Mubarak to Sisi (Oxford University Press) was informed by her experience of living in Egypt throughout the period of revolutionary upheaval. Dr. Holmes is the first person to have conducted a field survey of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) between 2015-2021, allowing her to analyze the transformation of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict over time. Her third book is forthcoming with OUP in 2023: Statelet of Survivors: The Making of a Semi-Autonomous Region in Northeast Syria.

Dr. Stepanyan’s talk focuses on “Relations between the Republic of Turkey and Soviet Armenia in the 1920s.” Dr. Stepanyan is the chair of World History and its Teaching Methods at the Khachatur Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University. His research interests include the problems of the history of the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries of the Republic of Armenia (1918-1920), of the Armenian-Georgian relations, of the Armenian social-political thought in the diaspora between 1920-1930, of Soviet Armenia and Transcaucasia, Sovietology.

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