Call for paper
The massacres of 1894-1896 in the Ottoman Empire:
Genesis, Consequences and Continuities of Extreme Violence
Since the 1990s, research on the Armenian genocide of WWI, as well as on the periods immediately preceding and following the genocide, has advanced considerably, opening up to new disciplinary perspectives and benefiting from the interest of a growing number of historians and experts in mass violence. On the other hand, the history of the large-scale massacres committed against the Armenians under the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II is still largely unknown, its sources underutilized or not studied at all. This situation is illustrated by the absence of even a comprehensive survey on the 1894-1896 massacres, attributable to the lack of research that has been conducted on the basis of all available sources (Ottoman, Armenian, Russian, Western), as well as the need for systematic archival studies and regional monographs. This period of extreme violence, a watershed in the political and social history of the Ottoman Empire, raises many questions about the similarities and differences with the genocidal process of 1915-1916. Such critical reflection is all the more important considering that the paradigm of 1894-1896 is sometimes used historiographically to underline the existence of a Turkish-Ottoman “Sonderweg” (German special path). It is well known that the notion of a Sonderweg has been discussed and contested in the case of Germany itself, in so far as it seems to fix German history on an inescapable path. In a similar fashion, the research conducted by Vahakn Dadrian on Turkish-Ottoman history may appear to some scholars as fraught with cultural bias and as casting that history in terms of an unavoidable clash of civilizations in Anatolia. Indeed, any comparison of recent historiographical works shows the lack of consensus among historians, the word "genocide" sometimes designating the entire period from 1894 to 1923.
As the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1896 undergird a large number of reflections on 1915 and on the conditions that made the perpetration of genocide possible, it is all the more essential to examine in depth this earlier period in order to strengthen the validity of the comparisons between the violence that occurred in 1894-1896 and the subsequent mass crimes committed in Anatolia: the Adana massacres of 1909, the genocide perpetrated during WWI, and the massacres committed by the Kemalist forces in the early 1920s.
We invite submissions on a broad range of topics and disciplinary approaches for this special issue. Articles may examine the political, economic, social and/or cultural history of the 1890s. Moreover, we are interested in contributions from any field in the social sciences and humanities, not exclusively works of history. Relevant studies may include chronological analyses of the events of the 1890s themselves, as well as analyses of the consequences of that era of violence up to the present day. Questions about representation (notably in the media, literature, or the arts), the construction of memories, the elaboration of contemporary discourse and the public uses of the past open new, broad-based perspectives on the Hamidian massacres. We also welcome theoretical reflections or empirical studies on the issue of mass violence itself. Comparative perspectives – relating the violence that affected various populations (Greek, Syriac, Arab, etc.), or areas of the Ottoman Empire (from the Balkans to the Middle East) of the time, or on genocide and mass violence in general – are especially appreciated. Submissions may also take up the consequences of the massacres of 1894-1896, in particular, the migrations caused by the massacres, their repercussions on the rural and urban economies of Eastern Anatolia, as well as the reception and representations of these cases of extreme violence among the urban Ottoman and foreign elites, in Constantinople, Tiflis, or even in Russia, Europe, or North America, from the late nineteenth century to the present day.
At the heart of this issue lies the question of the precedent: what links can be established between the genocide and the mass crimes that preceded it – an issue relevant to the study of other twentieth-century genocides.
The editors invite submissions in English or French. Article abstracts of between 450 and 500 words, along with a working title and a short biographical note, should be sent by January 30, 2017, to the editors of the issue:
Mikaël Nichanian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Boris Adjemian (email@example.com)
The articles (8000-9500 words, including notes and bibliography) selected by the Editorial Board of Études arméniennes contemporaines for inclusion in the theme issue should be ready for peer review by June 30, 2017. Publication is planned for December 2017.