IAGS2017 Session 12

Day 4, 13 July 1100-1230 Session 12

Issues of Justice and Impunity in the Armenian Genocide

Location W332, Level 3, Forgan Smith
Chair Henry Theriault; Worcester State University
Justice: The Case of the Armenian Genocide
Authors Tamar Ankeshian, Independent scholar
Richard Serop Aslanian, Independent scholar
Abstract This paper's central argument is that justice in the context of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 should only be from within and not without. The paper will be an enquiry into the broader topic of “justice for the Armenian genocide in the 21st Century” and focus on what the authors conclude are two prevailing socio-political factors that support the paper's argument. (1) The geopolitical and foreign policy interests of powerful state actors often block efforts to bring justice to the Armenian people. The paper will attempt to use examples from Australian politics as a touchstone. (2) Within the topic of “justice” the paper will also briefly hold to account the soft politics of “genocide recognition” within liberal democracies such as Australia to conclude that the only recognition that ought to count is that of the perpetrator state because justice and prevention in a diplomatic sense has to come from within and not without.
Biography I am an Armenian born in Sydney Australia, of fourth generation genocide survivors from Western Armenia. I have majored in journalism within my university studies, and actively contribute to Armenian community media and community events. Having participated in the IAGS 12th Meeting held in Yerevan Armenia in 2015, I have continued my research into Genocidal crimes, specifically in regards to the Armenian Genocide and look to further my academic studies through a post graduate program.

I graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and a Bachelor of Law with second class honors. I am a practicing solicitor in NSW specialising in employment law, including prosecuting claims for breaches of federal anti-discrimination laws in the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Federal Circuit Court. I am an active member of the Armenian community in Sydney, currently sit on the board of the Alexander Primary School and possess a keen interest in the effects of Genocide on my community.
Theories of Naturalisation and the Struggle for Recognition: Armenian-Americans and the American-Turkish Claims Commission
Authors Juliet Davis, Queensland University of Technology
Abstract This paper examines an historical attempt to shoehorn issues of genocide justice, accountability, and compensation into a bi-national legal body despite the intentions of its founders. Specifically, it describes pioneering Armenian-American attempts to obtain compensation from the Republic of Turkey for personal and proprietary losses incurred during the Armenian Genocide. The American-Turkish Claims Commission was established during the interwar period by the Turkish and United States governments as a forum for processing claims incurred by private citizens and organisations during World War I. The Commission was regarded by the hundreds of Armenian-Americans who filed claims as an unparalleled opportunity to claim financial recompense against their former oppressor. This paper delves deeper into the official United States decision to exclude the applications of Armenian-Americans from consideration by the Commission. In particular, it examines the conflicting legal theories of naturalisation advanced by the United States and Turkey, and discusses the foreign policy considerations which allowed the Turkish principle of naturalisation to triumph. It also critiques the Commission’s effectiveness as a justice-seeking mechanism.
Biography Juliet Davis holds master’s degrees with distinction in International and World History from Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2015, she co-authored the LSE panel’s report, ‘21st Century Power: Dislocation, Diffusion and Decay’ for Churchill 2015: Joining the Dots for 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme and Seminar. She has also presented papers at ‘The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies Seminar’ hosted by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA in 2014 and the ‘De-Provincializing Soft Power: A Global-Historical Approach Conference’ hosted by the Columbia University Global Center in Istanbul, Turkey in 2015. She graduated with first class honours in Laws and Arts, majoring in history and economics, from the University of Queensland in 2009. Juliet's key research interests centre on the politics of influence and the role of legal and social institutions in formulating collective memories of conflict.
Impunity and Victimization of Ottoman Armenians as Supportive Condition for the Genocide
Authors Suren Manukyan, Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute
Abstract The impunity as an instrumental tool for the implementation of genocide is commonplace in Armenian genocide scholarship. Ottoman Empire had a long tradition of a settlement of internal problems through brutal methods and even massacres. This policy was rooted from the institutionalized inequality between Muslim dominated population and Christian subjugated “infidels”. However, before 1908 impunity was comprehensive and possible punishment for the crimes committed against Christians even didn`t discuss as in the existing system of relationships the extermination of Armenians was comprehended a right and “normal” action. After the Young Turk revolution the issue of impunity became subject for discussions. The subordinated Armenian community began actively promote its rights proclaimed by the enforcement of the Constitution. My presentation will focus on the debate over un/changing nature of impunity and victimization in the newspapers published in the Armenian provinces of Ottoman Empire. This debate had been largely developed on their pages. Although local Armenian newspapers contain rich material for research but they were unfairly ignored for decades and main works of Armenian genocide are based largely either on foreign documents or on Armenian newspapers of the capital – Constantinople. In reality, this is significant primary source, that portraits the course of victimization of the Armenian community, gives the true picture of everyday social tension and feuds and narrates the whole perception of the imminent catastrophe by Armenian population.
Biography Suren Manukyan, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute (Yerevan, Armenia) and Chair of Department of International Relation at Gladzor University (Yerevan, Armenia), a lecturer at the departments of History and Oriental Studies of Yerevan State University and American University of Armenia. Book-review editor of International Journal of Armenian Genocide Studies. Member of IAGS Resolutions` committee. My current research focuses on the Social-psychological dimension of the Armenian genocide. It is based on my Fulbright research project “The Sociology of Armenian Genocide: Perpetrators, Bystanders, and Rescuers vs Victims, Survivors, and Betrayers” done at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University of New Jersey, USA. I am an author of about 20 articles on Genocide studies.

Teaching Secondary and Tertiary Students about Genocide

Location W349, Level 3, Forgan Smith
Chair Ashley Greene; Keene State College
Interweaving Histories: Genocide in the Australian Curriculum
Authors Panayiotis Diamadis, Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; University of Technology, Sydney
Abstract The Australian Curriculum History is the key government document on teaching that subject in secondary schools in this federation. Genocide – both as individual episodes and as a phenomenon – is implicitly and explicitly included in the Curriculum document. The document specifies the content to be taught in all Australian state and independent schools, while the actual delivery remains the domain of the instructors. Genocide is woven into the framework of the Curriculum, not taught as an explicit topic. Drawing on examples including the 95th anniversary of the holocaust of Smyrna and the indigenous Australian Stolen Generations, this presentation explores how students examine Australian interaction with the phenomenon of genocide in the inter-war period. Rev. James E. Cresswell, Rev. Ferguson, Edith Glanville, Eleanor Vokes-McKinnon, Major George Devine Treloar were part of history’s first international humanitarian relief effort on behalf of the survivors of the indigenous Armenian, Assyrian and Hellenic peoples of the Ottoman and Republican Turkish states between 1914 and 1924. The roles Australians played as witnesses and rescuers of Armenians, Assyrians and Hellenes are juxtaposed to the role of the Australian authorities as a perpetrator in the forced removal of indigenous children during the same period. As the Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia, A.O. Neville, articulated in his Australia's Coloured Minority: Its Place in the Community, assimilation of Aboriginal people could only occur through ‘breeding out the colour’. Through the Australian Curriculum History, these stories – of victim, survivor, perpetrator, bystander and rescuer – are being restored to the national history.
Biography Dr Panayiotis Diamadis has been teaching history and genocide since 1998, at Macquarie University and the University of Technology, Sydney, as well as a number of secondary schools in Sydney. His research covers the genocides of the Hellenic, Armenian and Assyrian peoples and European Jewry, with particular focus on the Australian dimensions of these episodes: the roles Australians played as witnesses, rescuers and bystanders between 1914 and 1945. Amongst his most recent research papers are “Forgotten and Concealed: The Emblematic Cases of the Assyrian and Romani Genocides” Genocide Studies and Prevention (Volume 10, 2016), “Delenda est Carthago: New Perspectives on an Old Conflict” Agora (Issue 4, 2016, History Teachers' Association of Victoria), and “Controversies Around Governmental and Parliamentary Recognition of the Armenian, Hellenic and Assyrian Genocides” (Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, Volume 11, 2017).
“We have such a sad history”: Armenian Students’ Perceptions of Historical Events Affecting Cultural Identity
Authors Doris Melkonian, University of California, Los Angeles
Abstract Scholars debate how and when children should be exposed to the horrors of history. In communities that have experienced trauma, the memories are transmitted down the generations, often with little attention to how these memories shape children’s cultural identity. Within the Armenian community, collective memories of the 1915 Armenian Genocide are passed down to younger generations, with private day schools playing a key role. Little research exists on the effects this has had on youngsters, and the role that schools can play in helping students understand and interpret the past, as it is shaping their identities. Drawing on social identity theory which explains that part of an individual’s self-concept is based on their membership in a social group, this study of 151 Armenian junior high students enrolled in five Armenian private schools, examined the impact of the Armenian Genocide on students’ perceptions of themselves, their ethnicity, and their history. During this five-month-long study, students expressed comments indicating that the Genocide is deeply associated with their identity and has affected perceptions of themselves. Students, many of whom are great-grandchildren of Genocide survivors, articulated pain and sadness for having a deeply tragic event in their history. They expressed feelings of weakness and victimhood, as well as pride for having survived attempts at eliminating their ethnic group. The challenge for educators is to create spaces in the classroom for students to explore difficult emotions related to past traumas without accepting a perception of victimhood as their core ethnic identity.
Biography Doris is a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA whose research focuses on the Armenian Genocide. She conducts research at Armenian private schools in Southern California, examining the impact of the Genocide on Armenian students’ identity formation. She also applies an interdisciplinary approach to analyze Genocide survivor narratives, examining topics such as sexual violence, cultural maintenance, resistance, and Islamized Armenians. Doris has presented her research on the Armenian Genocide at many conferences, both national and international. Doris has participated in international conferences hosted in Turkey, Armenia, and Israel. Doris’ publications include an entry in The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide, titled “Armenian Genocide Survivor Testimonies: UCLA Collection,” and a chapter, “Taken into Muslim Households” in the Islamized Armenians Conference Volume published by the Hrant Dink Foundation.
Teaching Genocide by Engaging Undergraduates in Research
Authors Arda Melkonian, University of California, Los Angeles
Abstract This paper describes the outcomes of undergraduate students’ participation as co-researchers in an Armenian Genocide oral history study. Students enrolled in a unique course in which they translated memoirs of Armenian Genocide survivors. This study resides within a sociocultural perspective in which knowledge and meaning are constructed by students through interactions with survivor memoirs and with each other. Students, drawing on their unique background, actively participate in constructing their own understanding and finding meaning, as they grappled with firsthand accounts of this emotionally-charged subject. Using a semi-structured script, twelve undergraduate students (7 female and 5 male) were interviewed to better understand students’ perceptions of the emotional impact and cognitive development of participating in the class. While increasing their knowledge about this trauma in their people’s history, they were forced to deal with their personal feelings. Students reported a range of emotions—mourning for lost lives and destruction of a culture; rage and deep hatred toward Turks; and pride at having survived. Students learned details of the genocidal process—details about deportations and massacres, specifics about the implementation of Turkish officials’ execution orders, reactions of the Turkish population, and Armenians’ survival strategies. Being exposed to personal accounts of survivors gave students an understanding of these peoples’ lives on the most intimate level—their feelings, perception of events, and coping mechanisms. In their roles as co-researchers, students gained a greater awareness of themselves as members of a diaspora which continues to be affected by this catastrophic event of a distant past.
Biography Arda is a doctoral candidate at UCLA focusing on the Armenian Genocide. She conducts research in Armenian private schools in the diaspora, examining cross-generational transmission of Genocide trauma. Arda has presented her research on gender-based survival options, resourcefulness of Armenian women, and types of intervention during the Armenian Genocide, at scholarly conferences in Armenia, Israel, Turkey, and the United States. Her recent publications include an entry in The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide, titled “Armenian Genocide Survivor Testimonies: UCLA Collection,” as well as a chapter, “Gender and Survival Options” in the Islamized Armenians Conference Volume published by the Hrant Dink Foundation.

Genocidal Symbolic Violence II

Location W431, Level 4, Forgan Smith
Chair Lyndall Ryan; University of Newcastle
My body is no longer mine, but my soul will be mine forever': Women and Sexual Violence During the Indonesian Occupation of East Timor (1975-99)
Authors Hannah Loney, University of Melbourne
Abstract This paper examines East Timorese women’s experiences and memories of sexual violence during the period of Indonesian occupation (1975-99). Much literature on sexual violence during conflict and occupation focuses on direct instances of rape, sexual slavery, sexual torture, and harassment. Particularly when these violations are systematic, widespread, and committed with impunity – as was the case during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor – collecting personal testimony, documenting women’s experiences, and identifying patterns, are worthy and necessary endeavours. In this paper, I move beyond such documentation of direct acts and descriptions of sexual violence to consider women’s everyday experiences of sexual harassment, fear, and intimidation, and the broader atmosphere in which these acts were perpetrated. This approach, I suggest, provides us with a more complex understanding of women’s experiences of military occupation and conflict situations. Drawing upon approximately fifty-five oral history interviews with East Timorese women, this paper explores the ways in which individual women experienced, negotiated, and remembered this militarised and violent occupation culture. In doing so, I suggest that it is important to consider the communicative, commemorative, and representative modes specific to East Timorese culture. In paying closer attention to such specific social, political, and cultural contexts which shape the possibilities for storytelling, as well as the particular narrative strategies and structures deployed by East Timorese women, we can develop a more nuanced understanding of women’s experiences of conflict and military occupation more broadly.
Biography Hannah Loney has recently submitted her PhD thesis, “In Women’s Words: A New History of Violence and Everyday Life during the Indonesian Invasion and Occupation of East Timor (1975–1999)”, from the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. Drawing upon her extensive oral history interviews with East Timorese women, Hannah has published on topics such as gender, nationalism, violence, oral history, and memory, in Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Oral History Australia, and Oral History Forum d’Histoire Orale. She has organised several multilingual conferences in Timor-Leste and has edited proceedings from these conferences. Hannah has also co-published with Patricia Grimshaw on Victorian Aboriginal women in Provenance: The Journal of Public Record Office Victoria, and on Pacific women’s organising in an edited collection on women in transnational history.
The Language of Revolutionary Violence: Killing and Take Over in the Making of Modern Indonesia
Authors Robbie Peters, University of Sydney
Abstract ‘Lincoln is alive and well in Surabaya’ read a headline of the city’s major newspaper in mid-¬October 1945. Penned by an American journalist in support of the Indonesian revolution, the statement meant – according to its Indonesian translators – that freedom had vested itself in the hearts of Surabaya’s people as they took over buildings and factories and killed any Japanese and Dutch who stood in their way. The tide of decolonisation was with the new freedom fighters: workers unions in Australia and the UK supported them, President Truman declared America’s support for decolonisation, and nationalists in Saigon had already begun executing their French prisoners. In Surabaya this violence was the work of ragged revolutionary mobs and occurred against a background of Fascist-¬- era instructions for people to remain orderly by dressing appropriately, not stealing electricity, declaring rice stocks and registering cultural performances. This paper considers how the revolutionary disregarded these messages and triumphed through an emerging post-¬-colonial logic in which – as Sartre notes in his forward to Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth – ‘the rebel’s weapon is the proof of his humanity’. To this logic the paper adds another that sees the rebel’s humanity as proved not by his weapon alone by what it does to its victim.
Biography Robbie Peters is a senior lecturer in anthropology at the University of Sydney and director of its Development Studies Program. His book, Surabaya, 1945-2010 was shortlisted for the 2015 EuroSEAS humanities book prize and he has written journal articles on urban renewal and the political economy of violence in Indonesia and on gender and work in Jakarta, Surabaya and Saigon. His current research focuses on several issues, including death commemoration and the politics of place in the Indonesian city, the new on-demand motorbike taxi economy in Jakarta and Surabaya and the effect of new cash transfers programs on the urban poor. He is most interested in the culture and politics of revolutionary violence in Indonesia.
Nudity as a Vehicle of Symbolic Violence in the Nazi Camps
Authors Bieke Van Camp, Université Paul-Valéry
Abstract Based on a corpus of 40 Italian testimonies (oral, published), the fragility of the naked body of the deportees, will be central to this paper. Beyond material and identity spoliations, the obligation of nudity when entering the Lager as a rite of passage between the outside world and the totalitarian institution, then the feeling of being watched or judged (as much by the other inmates as by the perpetrators) causes above all a great feel of embarrassment and shame. Furthermore, it is a collective nudity, where bodies are necessarily intertwined. Nudity then returns during the "sessions" of showering and disinfection, but also during “internal selections”. How is the nudity perceived by witnesses? How is nudity exploited by the perpetrators? Or, in other words, how does nudity become a form of symbolic violence that can determine the life of Holocaust Survivors even beyond the concentration camp experience? It is inevitable to note that nudity is experienced, or at least recalled in different ways in the testimonies of men and women: a comparative approach is therefore applied.
Biography Bieke Van Camp is a PhD candidate in contemporary history at the Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France). Her thesis (which is an extension of his Master’s dissertation, ‘The experience of the Shoah by Italian testimonies: symbolic violence and response strategies’), is supervised by Prof. Frédéric Rousseau and is entitled ‘The Shoah as a social experience and the deportees as social groups: a socio-historical comparative approach to Italian and Dutch-speaking deportees’. Her thesis studies the persecution of European Jews through testimonies from a socio-historical point of view. She has participated in two international conference, ‘Singing the war’ (Montpellier, March 2015) and the NEMLA seminar (Hartford, March 2016) on ‘War through songs: the Italian resistance in Reggio Emilia and its anthem’.

Digital Art Installation

Location Moot Court W237, Level 2, Forgan Smith
Beyond Genocide: Silent Power Point Exhibition
Authors Amy Fagin, Beyond Genocide Centre for Prevention
Abstract This independent looping silent power point will provide an introduction to the series “Beyond Genocide”, a series of illuminated manuscripts narrating a documentary treatise of genocides and mass atrocity crimes around the globe. The power point includes overview of the series and case by case visual art experience of the individual compositions within the series. Details and meanings discovered by the artist will be presented as a visual “docent” by describing what and how certain details support the historical basis of the atrocity crime, and narrate the composition of the illumination. All completed illuminations from the emerging series will be included. Considerations regarding narratives of history and the “truths” that they represent are contextualized for individual observation and contemplation. This presentation creates a deeply contemplative experience on the trajectory and legacy of mass atrocity across time and space. The session loops independently and is recommended to be hosted in a darkened “screening room” where individuals can enter or leave independently. Hours of operation can be outlined in the schedule.
Biography Amy Fagin is a U.S. based visual artist specializing in the traditional art form of manuscript illumination. Her body of work represents a meta-modernist approach to the materials, techniques and theoretical principals used in manuscript illumination for contemporary consideration. She is author of Beyond Genocide; an emerging series of illuminations narrating a visual documentary arts perspective on global incidents of genocide and mass violence. Ms. Fagin is also an independent scholar in genocide studies and conducts research / seminars, lectures, workshops and advisory work on global initiatives of memory and memorialization through individual and collective arts expression and the museum experience. She has contributed expertise in international consultative events and currently serves on the advisory board of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. She regularly publishes editorials, reviews and essays on genocide, memory, memorialization, art and 21st century expression and education.