The Society for Armenian Studies announced that Lerna Ekmekcioðlu’s Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2016) and Talin Suciyan’s The Armenians in Modern Turkey: Post-Genocide Society, Politics and History (London: I.B.Tauris, 2015) have been chosen as the recipients of the Der Mugrdechian SAS Outstanding Book Award for 2015-2017. An honorable mention has been awarded to Tara Andrews’ Matt‘ēos Uṙhayec‘i and His Chronicle: History as Apocalypse in a Crossroads (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2017)
Established in 2015, the Der Mugrdechian SAS Outstanding Book Award accepts nominations for works that advanced knowledge and scholarship on Armenian society, culture, and history from ancient times to the present. Starting in 2018, Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University and past president of SAS, has generously offered to sponsor the award for the coming five years. According to the selection committee, both Recovering Armenia and The Armenians in Modern Turkey demonstrated substantive knowledge and overall high level of scholarship. The Book Award covered works published in the period of May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2017. Dr. Ekmekcioðlu and Dr. Suciyan will split the $1000.00 each receive a $500 monetary award from SAS and receive a certificate of recognition.
After the Armenian genocide and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the Armenians who remained were left again to reconstruct their life within a country that still considered them traitors. In Recovering Armenia Ekmekcioðlu investigates how Armenians recovered their identity within these drastically changing political conditions. Reading Armenian texts and images produced in Istanbul from the close of WWI through the early 1930s, she gives voice to the community’’s most prominent public figures, notably Hayganush Mark, a renowned activist, feminist, and editor of the influential journal Hay Gin. These public figures articulated an Armenianness sustained through gendered differences, and women came to play a central role preserving traditions, memory, and the mother tongue within the home. While women were being celebrated for their traditional roles, a strong feminist movement found opportunity for leadership within the community. The book explores this paradox: how someone could be an Armenian and a feminist in post-genocide Turkey when, through its various laws and regulations, the key path for Armenians to maintain their identity was through traditionally gendered roles. The book will be published in Turkish as Ermeniliðin Yeniden Ýnþasý: Soykýrým Sonrasý Türkiye’de Aidiyetin Sýnýrlarý (Istanbul, Aras Publishing).
Dr. Ekmekcioðlu is McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Born and raised in Istanbul, she studied at Bogazici University in the Department of Sociology, and then completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in History and Middle East and Islamic Studies at New York University between 2004 and 2010. In Spring 2016 she was the Dumanian Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. She is also the co-editor with Melissa Bilal of Bir Adalet Feryadý: Osmanlý’dan Cumhuriyet’e Beþ Ermeni Feminist Yazar (1862–1933) [A Cry for Justice: Five Armenian Feminist Writers from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic (1862–1933)] (Istanbul: Aras Publishing, 2006).
Thousands of Armenians lived and worked in the Turkish state after the Armenian genocide alongside those who had persecuted their communities. Living in the context of pervasive denial, how did Armenians remaining in Turkey record their own history? In The Armenians in Modern Turkey, Suciyan explores the life experienced by these Armenian communities as Turkey’’s modernization project of the twentieth century gathered pace. Suciyan achieves this through analysis of remarkable new primary material. The first history of its kind, The Armenians in Modern Turkey is a fresh contribution to the history of modern Turkey and the Armenian experience there. The book just appeared in Turkish as Modern Türkiyede Ermeniler: Soykýrýmsonrasý Toplum Siyaset ve Tarih (Istanbul: Aras Publications, 2018).
Dr. Suciyan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Turkish Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (Germany). Born and raised in Istanbul, she is a graduate of the University of Istanbul. She completed her M.A. in Social Studies in the Global Studies Program offered jointly by Albert-Ludwig University (Freiburg, Germany), University of Kwazulu (Durban, South Africa), and Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India), and her Ph.D. in the Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Ludwig-Maximilian University in 2014. She has authored several documentaries, including “Searching for Zabel Yesayan” (2008), co-directed with Lara Aharonian.
Thanking the Society of Armenian Studies and the selection committee, Dr. Suciyan commented: “This award is an acknowledgment of the relevance and importance of bringing the survivors’ experiences into present. With the SAS award, this book accomplishes what it aimed for: breaking the denialist paradigm, proving that Turkey’s history cannot be written without putting the experiences of Armenian survivors at the center of historiography, and bridging the gap between Armenian and Turkish Studies.”