A nation of orphans : silence and memory in twentieth-century Turkey
Title: A nation of orphans : silence and memory in twentieth-century Turkey
Author: KALAYCI, Suzan Meryem Rosita
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2017
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
Written during the centenary of the Armenian genocide, A Nation of Orphans focuses on the personal narratives of individuals who were touched, in one painful way or another, by the Armenian genocide of 1915 – individuals of different genders, social backgrounds, classes and ages. They range from orphans to school directors and presidents, from fathers to daughters and grandchildren, from genocide victims to perpetrators and bystanders. Engaging different modes of historical analysis, my thesis aspires to avoid two recent trends in Genocide Studies: a one-sided focus on either the perpetrators or the victims, and obsessive revolving around the notion of denial. Over the course of four chapters, A Nation of Orphans looks at how Turkey remembered the First World War and the Armenian genocide – what was spoken about but not said, and what was said but not spoken about. My central argument is that silence swept Turkey’s memorial landscape after the Great War. The Turkish silence about the Armenian genocide is both unique and characteristic of the silence that followed the Great War. An ideological break with the past, which was solicited by the republican political regime in the years following the war, and the legacy of the genocide have shaped modern Turkey. I make an effort to understand how silence would indeed become the language of the newly founded republic and how individuals dealt with this predicament of silence: how they came to identify themselves in this liminal situation between speech and silence, between remembering and forgetting, and how they nevertheless found ways of telling their personal stories.
Defence date: 28 May 2018; Examining Board: Prof. Alexander Etkind (EUI) ; Prof. emerita Luisa Passerini (EUI) ; Prof. emeritus Jay Winter (Yale University) ; Prof. Hülya Adak (Sabanci University)
Type of Access: embargoedAccess