Sharing Secrets: Memories, Silences and Inscribing Genocide on Women's Bodies

Alkaa kello
Päättyy kello

Pinni B building, lecture hall B1097 (address: Kanslerinrinne 1, 1st fl.)

University of Tampere
Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR)

Speakers Series 2017-2018, Spring

Professor Meyda Yeğenoğlu, IASR

This lecture examines how the experience of the Armenians during mass deportations before the WWI is a good example of how their life was turned into homo sacer (as suggested by Agamben). Having been put at the limits of ethical and political life, being dispossessed from the protection of rights by the law meant that they can either be killed with impunity. On their way to Syria, thousands have died, many were killed, some have committed suicide and many women and young girls have been kidnapped either by Ottoman gendarmes, wealthy military officials, Kurdish and Arab tribes. Those who have survived were mostly integrated into Muslims families, their names have been changed to Turkish names, their Armenianness were erased as they were Muslimized and have forgotten their native language. Some of the surviving women were forced into prostitution and others have eventually married to Muslim men and have continued their past lives in complete secrecy. After highlighting the dimension of silence about this past and how this silence has been a systematic dimension structuring the lives of Armenian people who survived, my lecture suggests that the inability to talk about the tragedy and the silence surrounding it has been transmitted as an Armenian heritage. However, this history that cannot be forgotten as loss is imprinted in the collective memory of Armenians and cannot be erased or diminished by remaining silent about it. The persistence of the memory of the tragedy is refusing to fade away and continue to surface itself in numerous affective encounters. To address this affective dimension, I would like to bring to your attention two survivor stories and examine the contexts, moments and environments in which these mutely residing memories erupt and come to surface.

What is the Speakers Series of the University of Tampere?
 - The Speakers Series is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the  Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social  Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows  as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the  programme, please check the IASR website




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