Conference: World War I and the Non-Turkish Minorities in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, City University of New York
In May 2015, the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center in conjunction with the Zoryan Institute and the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (The Graduate Center, City University of New York, CUNY) organized a conference on “World War I and the NonTurkish Minorities in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks.” The conference was hosted by the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC) at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
This was a major scholarly event, with presentations by US-based and international academics. The conference was supported by the Pan Pontian Federation of USA and Canada.
The goal of the research center -- the only one of its kind -- is to raise awareness about what happened to the Greek communities of the later Ottoman Empire and create resources about the topic that can be made available to larger audiences in the English-speaking world. Although their main focus is the study of Ottoman Greeks, their perspective is broad.
The center seeks to develop a multidimensional scholarly community in collaboration with Armenian, Assyrian, Jewish and Turkish scholars to gain better insight into the events of that time. The conference organized is part of this collaborative program.
In accordance with this perspective, scholars from around the world such as David Gaunt, Sabri Atman, Nora Cherishian Lessersohn, Alexandros Kastrinakis, Inger Marie Okkenhaug, Steven Leonard Jacobs and other leading academics have presented original research on the Ottoman Turkish genocides -- Armenian, Assyrian and Greek -- to yield new insight into the overall strategy, planning, execution and aftermath of the campaign to eliminate the native Christian populations of Asia Minor.
This was the second major international conference that the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center has organized in collaboration with the Zoryan Institute dedicated to the study of the Christian genocides of the late Ottoman Empire. The conference also provided innovative analyses and insights from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives.
This reviewer examined the fundamental aspects of Turkish nationalism with a particular focus on race and racist discourses within its content. Nora Cherishian Lessersohn from Harvard University discussed an interesting topic -- the existence and role of Armenians soldiers in the Ottoman army between 1910 and 1914.
Leading historian and scholar David Gaunt analyzed outbreaks of extreme violence and the execution of mass purges of Armenian and Assyrian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. Gaunt delineated the causes behind the wholesale extermination of Armenians and Assyrians by taking into consideration historical conditions and the international context at that time.
Steven Leonard Jacobs’s paper demonstrated the fate of Ottoman Jews and the status, political and living condition of the Jewish population of the Ottoman Empire during Word War I vis-àvis other non-Muslim subjects of the Empire.
Another session of the conference focused on female
THIS WAS A MAJOR SCHOLARLY EVENT, WITH PRESENTATIONS BY US-BASED AND INTERNATIONAL ACADEMICS