Knowledge production on genocide has historically tended to downplay or ignore the gendered logics that underpin the phenomenon. This has been challenged by feminist scholarship on war and political violence.
The Armenian Genocide was an episode of murder, violence, torture, and forced migration, ordered by Ottoman Turkish officials and enabled by a range of actors. Armenian women were specifically terrorized in this phase. During long, deadly deportation journeys, they were exposed to all sorts of gendered attacks. This gendered violence was not a by-product; it was a key characteristic of the genocide.
Learning about the Armenian Genocide is not only important for ongoing efforts towards justice and truth-seeking about past historical episodes of large-scale violence and the ways in which these impact contemporary politics and social relations between communities. It also matters because history repeats itself. As podcast guest Dr Lerna Ekmekçioğlu explains, the genocide committed by ISIS on the Êzidî community in 2014 had shocking parallels to the Armenian genocide, especially when it comes to its gendered aspects.
Dr Lerna Ekmekçioğlu is an Associate Professor of History at MIT where she is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Department. Her research focuses on the late Ottoman Empire, early Turkish Republic, and minorities, especially Armenians. Her first monograph, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey, came out from Stanford University Press in 2016. In 2006 she co-edited a volume in Turkish on the first five Armenian Ottoman feminists (Bir Adalet Feryadı,, Aras Yayıncılık). Currently she is collaborating with Dr. Melissa Bilal (UCLA) for a book and digital humanities project titled “Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology and Documentary Archive” (Stanford U. Press, 2024). "
This project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.
Music: Gago Mare, Garke Zis— (Arrange My Marriage) · Zulal