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The politics of memory and commemoration: Armenian diasporic reflections on 2015

  • Sossie Kasbarian (a1)

Abstract

The centenary year of the Armenian genocide witnessed an escalation in cultural production and both political and academic focus. This paper looks at some of the sites and spaces, physical and discursive, in which the centenary was marked. In particular, it seeks to assess how the centenary has challenged and possibly altered the context within which we approach the genocide and its continuing legacies. The paper is positioned in the diasporic space – while recognizing that this is fluid and embodies transnational sites between “homelands” in the form of Armenia and Turkey, and “host states” where diaspora communities have resided (at least) since the genocide, in effect their homes. This paper attempts to pick out some of the themes apparent in the discourse and in the activities during 2015, from the perspective of Armenian diasporan actors, and is based on the author's observations and participation in centenary events in the USA, Lebanon, Turkey, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as interviews with participants and organizers.

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