Sat, 20 Apr 9:45am: International Conference: Debating the Origins, Development, and Impact of the Armenian Genocide (1850s-1938)

Date: Saturday, April 20 


Debating the Origins, Development, and Impact of the Armenian Genocide
(1850s to the Present)

Location: 370/371 Dwinelle Hall, U.C. Berkeley

Abstract: The unusually broad focus of this conference aims at assessing various historiographical aspects of the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Since the extermination of the Armenians was a central event leading to the creation of modern Turkey, this conference will also deal with the ideological, political, and cultural continuities and discontinuities from the period of the Committee of Union and Progress to the present, insofar as they shed light on the Armenian Genocide and its denial by the Turkish State. Instead of in-depth original research into narrow historical topics, the participants were asked to present academic “think pieces” reflecting on crucial issues.

9:45am: Coffee, cookies, and introduction by Dr. Stephan H. Astourian,
Director of the Armenian Studies Program and Associate Adjunct
Professor, Department of History, U.C. Berkeley


Chair: Dr. Christine Philliou, Associate Professor (Department of
History, U.C. Berkeley)


Dr. Ronald Grigor Suny (William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University
Professor of Hitory, The University of Michigan; Professor Emeritus of Political Science and History, The University of Chicago)

Title: “Since the Centennial:  New Departures in the Scholarship on the Armenian Genocide, 2015-2019”

Abstract: The centennial of the Armenian Genocide in 2015 was marked by a flood of new research and writing on the events of 1915.  The
consensus in the academia, and increasingly in the informed public, was that a genocide occurred in the late Ottoman Empire.  It appeared for a time that the denialist campaigns had failed, that the Turkish Republic might finally acknowledge the horrors of the Ottoman past, and yet in the next few years as Turkey turned ever more authoritarian scholars were faced by an odd paradox.  Official discourse remained stagnant in the old understandings, while besieged scholarship continued to develop a better understanding of the origins and processes of the Genocide.


Dr. Raymond H. Kévorkian (Director of research emeritus, Institut
Français de Géopolitique, Université Paris VIII, Saint-Denis)

Title: “Methodical Depopulation and Systematic Destruction: Continuity and Radical Break between the Hamidian Regime and the Unionists”

Abstract: This brief reflection aims at redefining the conceptual bases of an issue that constantly comes back on the scene and generates lively debates without reaching a definitive conclusion: Is there continuity or not between the mass violence of the Hamidian period and the systematic destruction of 1915? If, yes, what kind?


Dr. Mehmet Polatel (Manoogian Post-doctoral Fellow, Armenian Studies
Program of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Title: “The Short- and Long-Term Consequences of the Hamidian Massacres”

Abstract: This presentation examines the short- and long-term
consequences of the Hamidian Massacres with a particular focus on the ways in which this wave of mass violence, and the processes of property transfer that accompanied it, escalated tensions among different communities and produced changes that hindered the normalization of relations among them. It argues that these massacres led to the emergence of a large group of people who had a vested interest in the non-implementation of reforms and shows that this interest group played an important role in the realization of genocidal violence at the local level in 1915.

12:15-12:45pm: Q&A

LUNCH BREAK: 12:45-2:15pm


Chair: Dr. Margaret Lavinia Anderson, Professor Emerita (Department of History, U.C. Berkeley)


BOOK LAUNCH, Hans-Lukas Kieser, Margaret Lavinia Anderson, Seyhan
Bayraktar, et al., The End of the Ottomans: The Genocide of 1915 and the Politics of Turkish Nationalism (London: I.B. Tauris, 2019)


Dr. Taner Akçam (Kalusdian/Mugar Chair, History Department, Clark

Title: “Was There a Defining Decision (or Decisions) to Commit the
Armenian Genocide? If Yes, What Was Its (or Their) Timing?”

Abstract: Bahaattin Şakir, the head of Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, in a letter on March 3, 1915 wrote that the Central Committee of the Committee of Union and Progress had decided to exterminate the Armenians. And gave
the government wide authority to implement this plan. His letter has
never been considered as authentic and was ignored by researchers in our field. Most scholars put the possible date(s) for a final decision at the end of March (or beginning of April). In my talk, I will show that the letter is authentical and we have to revisit the topic of the final decision. If we take Şakir's date as a possible date for the final decision, where and how was this decision taken and is there any corroborative evidence to confirm the date of his letter. Based on some newly available Ottoman documents, Akçam will revisit the question of the final decision and ask some new research questions.


Dr. Hans-Lukas Kieser (Associate Professor at the University of
Newcastle, Australia)

Title: “Opium for the Oblivion of Genocide: The Kemalist Elite’s History

Abstract: The Turkish History Thesis of the 1930s served a non-Islamic identity construction in the post-Ottoman Republic of Turkey by integrating Turks into a racially constructed white Aryan West. It made Turkdom the cradle of human civilization and “proto-Turks” the pre-historic natives of Asia Minor. Young Turk and Kemalist narratives of national salvation, starting in the early 1910s, culminated in a thesis that emphasized glorious Turkish history cleansed from foreign influence. The contemporary exclusive control of Anatolia by radically nationalistic Turks was given ethno-historical credentials and the disappearance of the others (Armenians, Greeks, etc.) was portrayed as a natural and logical historical process. This paper underlines the History Thesis’ contemporary centrality and topicality, in contrast to a dispensable curiosity. The exalted and exuberant nature of the arguments served Kemalist élites as opium to obliviate the perpetration of genocide during their Turkey’s foundation.

4:15-4:30pm: Q&A


Chair: Dr. Stephan H. Astourian


Dr. Etienne Copeaux (Independent researcher)

Title: “Is Turkey Condemned to Nationalism after the Genocide?”

Abstract: By formulating the hypothesis of the existence in Turkey of a general feeling of guilt consecutive to the genocide, I would like to reconsider nationalism and history-writing in Turkey, in their excessive characteristics, as effects of the genocide. In fact, the sense of guilt added to the impossibility to mourn has necessitated what Mitscherlich called the “emergency exits,” that is, the prejudices and stereotypes able to ensure “that nothing prevents the process of repression or denial.” After a glance over some features of Turkish nationalism and over the State’s takeover of history, I will evoke some aspects of the vision of Turkish history under the rule of R.T. Erdogan.

5 :15-6pm:

Dr. Hamit Bozarslan (Professor, Ecole des hautes études en sciences
sociales, Paris)

Title: “Kairos against Chronos: The Role of Chiliasm in the Making of Unionism and Erdoganism”

Abstract: As is well-known, the German sociologist Karl Mannheim has
defined chiliasm as the Kairos’s will to take revenge against Chronos.
In spite of their multiple differences and the sharp contrasts that we observe between the 1910s and the 2010s, the Unionist and Erdoganist cartels of power share the same vision: the Turkish nation has a historical mission interrupted by internal and external enemies and traitors. They interpret history as a permanent Social-Darwinist war between “species” and they understand the future as the time of the ultimate revenge against the past. Their ambition is to undo what Chronos has instituted in time.

6-6:30pm: Q&A and Conclusion by Dr. Stephan H. Astourian

Mon, 22 Apr, 6pm: “Economic Policies: Jobs, Property, and Genocide”

Economic Policies: Jobs, Property, and Genocide

Please join AIER’s Bastiat Society program in San Francisco for an event on economic policies. Mehmet Polatel and AIER’s Max Gulker will speak on topics ranging from the Jobs Guarantee to the Armenian Genocide.

This event is a great opportunity for attendees to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs and share ideas about these topics.

Tickets are $15.00. Space is limited.

There is street parking at the venue.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Register Now!


  • 6:00 – 6:30 – Sign In and networking 
  • 6:30 – 7:30 – Max Gulker: Talk and Q&A
  • 7:30 – 7:45 – Intermission
  • 7:45 – 8:45 – Mehmet Polatel: Talk and Q&A
  • 8:45 – 9:30 – Meet the speakers and network


Max Gulker: “Should the Government Give Everyone a Job?”

Proposals for a federal job guarantee have gained popularity over the past year. This lecture and discussion will unpack these proposals, their likely size, cost, and economic impact.

Mehmet Polatel: “The Armenian Genocide and the Property Politics: Processes of Confiscation and Distribution”

In this presentation, Mehmet Polatel will discuss the processes of property transfer during and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and explore the links between economic policies and mass violence.

Online Flyer on meet up page.

Sat. 27 April: Calvary Armenian Church 92nd Annual Banquet

Join us for an evening featuring Dr. Heghnar Zeitlan Watenpaugh discussing her latest book The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, From Genocide to Justice

In 2010, the world’s wealthiest art institution, the J. Paul Getty Museum, found itself confronted by a century-old genocide. The Armenian Church was suing for the return of eight pages from the Zeytun Gospels, a manuscript illuminated by the greatest medieval Armenian artist, Toros Roslin. Protected for centuries in a remote church, the holy manuscript had followed the waves of displaced people exterminated during the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the confusion and brutality of the First World War, it was cleaved in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty.

The Missing Pages is the biography of a manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh follows in the manuscript’s footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom.

Reconstructing the path of the pages, Watenpaugh uncovers the rich tapestry of an extraordinary artwork and the people touched by it. At once a story of genocide and survival, of unimaginable loss and resilience, The Missing Pages captures the human costs of war and persuasively makes the case for a human right to art.

Phone: (415) 586-2000

Sun, April 28 2pm: US Premiere: The Stateless Diplomat

At a time when most women in the developed world did
not have the right to vote, Diana Agabeg Apcar was
appointed the honorary consul of the first Republic of
Armenia to Japan.

The Stateless Diplomat is an original film by Apcar’s
great-granddaughter, Mimi Malayan. Using Asianinspired
scrolling animation, a moving musical score,
and captivating, dramatized readings from Apcar’s
memoirs and letters, THE STATELESS DIPLOMAT tells
the story of an indefatigably selfless, cultured,
and deeply committed humanitarian, who helped save
the lives of hundreds of Armenians fleeing the
1915-23 genocide by the Turkish government

To learn more about the film, visit
For information about the screening, contact ANCA SF
at (415) 387-3433

Fri, 26 Apr 7pm: “Singing in Exile”

-Date: Friday, April 26 
Speakers: Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan and Aram Kerovpyan

Screening and Discussion: “Singing in Exile”

Location: 105 North Gate Hall

Time: 7pm

Abstract: “Singing in Exile” is a film directed by Nathalie Rossetti & Turi Finocchiaro. Aram and Virginia, an Armenian couple from the diaspora, transmit an ancestral tradition of Armenian chant, which is in danger of disappearing, to a troupe of European actors. During the process of creating a new play, the couple takes the company on a trip to Anatolia where the Armenian civilization has been destroyed. Along the way, the questioning of the actors brings to the forefront the wealth of this culture: the chant becomes a language of creation and sharing, the breath of life. This is an initiatory journey where the sounds, the music, the words, the bodies, and the cries impart a memory and a future. ——— Turi Finocchiaro and Nathalie Rossetti are independent filmmakers. Turi Finocchiaro directs a small production company, Borak Films, and Nathalie Rossetti has participated in the Jungle Film of Basile Sallustion since 2005. Turi is from the documentary film world, while Nathalie is more from the world of fiction. As documentary filmmakers, their interest is in artistic, historic, and anthropological subjects. They have made many films, including “Yiddish Soul” and “Luce’s Besa: Against Blood Justice.”

Bio: Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan was born in Washington, D.C. and moved to Paris in the 1970’s. She has performed and recorded with various early music, as well as contemporary music, ensembles. Soloist of the Kotchnak and Akn ensembles, she has specialized in Armenian song since 1980. Her interpretation brings to the forefront the essence of this music, making its discovery and transmission more accessible.

Aram Kerovpyan was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He learned to play the kanoun and studied the Near Eastern music system with Master musician Saadeddin Öktenay. Moving to Paris, he joined the Kotchnak ensemble, performing Armenian folk and troubadour music, and in 1985 established the Akn ensemble specializing in Armenian liturgical chant. He has been the master-singer of the Armenian cathedral in Paris since 1990. He is active in the world of theater as musician, teacher, and composer. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology and publishes about modal theory and the history of Armenian liturgical music.