BELMONT, Mass. — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will host an online program titled “They Vowed Never To Return: Armenian Transatlantic Mobility and ‘Undesirable Subjects’ at the end of the Ottoman Empire” with Hazal Özdemir on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern / 4:30 p.m. Pacific. This program is co-sponsored by NAASR and the Society for Armenian Studies (SAS).
The webinar will be accessible live on Zoom (registration required) and on NAASR’s YouTube Channel.
This talk will expand the category of anti-Armenian violence in the Hamidian era to contain the denaturalization of targeted populations and methods devised to control their movements, such as photo registers. It will focus on the Armenian mobility between the Ottoman Empire and the United States between 1896-1908. In 1896, the government of Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) encouraged Armenians who were bound to the United States to emigrate under the condition that they renounce their Ottoman subjecthood, vow to never return and deliver their two photographs to the state.
Creating a bureaucratic apparatus for monitoring and policing the transatlantic mobility of Armenians, who had become undesirable subjects, was a crucial phase of state-sanctioned violence. Armenian denaturalization was also a pivotal step in the transition from the empire to the nation-state and this ethnoreligious discrimination profoundly shaped Ottoman nationality and the formation of Turkish citizenship.
Özdemir is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Northwestern University. She graduated from Boğaziçi University’s Department of History in 2017 and received her master’s degree in the History of Art and Photography program at Birkbeck, University of London. Her dissertation project is funded by institutions such as the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) and the Society of Armenian Studies (SAS). Özdemir is a Gulbenkian Fellow for the academic year 2022-2023.
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