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Armenian Studies Program pres.

ASP Lecture | Palimpsests of Ruins: Between Armenian and Kurdish Histories in Anatolia

Anoush Tamar Suni, 2019-20 Manoogian Post-doctoral Fellow, U-M

Remnants of an Armenian cemetery in Van province. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016. Remnants of an Armenian cemetery in Van province. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016.
Remnants of an Armenian cemetery in Van province. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016.
This presentation will focus on the overlapping histories of the Armenian and Kurdish communities in the region of Van in southeastern Anatolia. Dr. Suni will discuss the repeating cycles of violence against these minority communities and the effects of their violent histories on the landscape through an ethnographic exploration of physical spaces of ruins, including Armenian churches and Kurdish homes. Through attention to the persistent effects of violence on both local memory and the built environment, this presentation complicates the categories of victim and perpetrator. The talk will show how Armenian and Kurdish histories, often understood disparately, are fundamentally intertwined. With an ethnographic focus on shared spaces of material ruins, Dr. Suni will demonstrate how buildings and landscapes are not merely static reflections of a bygone time. Instead, these ruins, in which overlapping histories of state violence are sedimented, are dynamic spaces in which understandings of the past, politics in the present, and possible futures are negotiated, imagined and enacted.

Dr. Anoush Tamar Suni earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019. Her dissertation, entitled “Palimpsests of Violence: Ruination and the Politics of Memory in Anatolia,” investigates questions of memory and the material legacies of state violence in the region of Van in southeastern Turkey with a focus on the historic Armenian and contemporary Kurdish communities. For her dissertation, between 2015 and 2017, Dr. Suni spent over two years in Van and Istanbul conducting ethnographic research. She completed her BA in Middle East Studies at Pomona College, in California in 2009 and her MA in Turkish Studies at Sabanci University in Istanbul in 2012.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this event, please reach out to us (at tumanyan@umich.edu) at least 2 weeks in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.

Photo: Akhtamar Church in Van. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016.
Remnants of an Armenian cemetery in Van province. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016. Remnants of an Armenian cemetery in Van province. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016.
Remnants of an Armenian cemetery in Van province. Photo by Anoush Tamar Suni, 2016.

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