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Armenian Genocide

Syllabus for one-year Distance Learning course on Armenian Studies
 
 
 

ARMENIAN GENOCIDE 
 



Anahit Khosroeva, Ph.D, Associate Professor
Distance Learning Laboratory, Yerevan State University
 
Senior Researcher in the Department of
Armenian Genocide Studies, Institute of History, 
National Academy of Sciences RA
 
Associate Professor in the Department for 
Middle Eastern Studies
North Park University of Chicago, US
 
 
I. Course module description
At the end of the 19th century and during World War I (1914-1918) the government of the Ottoman Empire faced a desperate domestic crisis and looming military defeat. This government responded to its myriad social problems by declaring all of its citizens of Armenian descent “disloyal” and ordering their “relocation.” The result of this relocation was the virtual extermination of all Armenians within the Ottoman Empire. An exact figure can not be determined, but estimates of the number of people murdered in this action (the word genocide did not yet exist) about 1,500,000. The perpetrators of these murders went virtually unpunished.
These numbers should be shocking, and they are!!! But the number of dead is lass important than the precedent established: A sovereign government might scapegoat and exterminate a sizeable portion of its population with impunity as “the rest of the world” sat inertly by, unwilling to become involved in “internal, domestic” affairs. And throughout the 20th and bloodiest century of the Common Era the social solution devised by the Ottoman government would be emulated and revised in places like Germany, The Soviet Union, Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Sudan, with little change in the response from the “rest of the world” except for the designation of a new label for this crime: “Genocide.”
Using both primary and secondary sources we will study several cases: the mass murder of the Armenians and other Christians (Assyrians and Greeks) in Ottoman Turkey at the last decade of the19th century and during World War I (for Armenian and Assyrian case), and under rule of Kemal Ata Turk (for Greek case). We will particularly investigate the early stages of persecution to demonstrate the transition to mass murder. 
     The readings and writing assignments for this course will survey the history and causes of Armenian genocide; we will also attempt to develop theories about what intervention steps may be taken by the global to prevent future instances. 
 
II. Aims of the course module
The course module aims to teach the students about the first Genocide of the 20th century – the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. Explain that in 1915, there was no official word to describe what was happening to the Armenians. People used different terms such as "race murder" or "massacre" when depicting the horrible atrocities being committed by the Ottoman government. Now this moment in history is called "The Armenian Genocide." It was not until 1944 that Raphael Lemkin created the term "genocide," as a response to what happened to Armenians as well as a response to the Holocaust of World War II. Article 2 of the United Nations Genocide Convention defines genocide as "acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group..." As a way to make this legal definition more concrete for students, help students connect parts of the definition to their understanding of the Armenian Genocide. For example, historical evidence demonstrates that the Armenians have been a distinct national group for centuries. Documents show that there was intent to destroy the Armenians. The killing was well-planned in stages. And, the massive scale of the destruction, 1,5 million Armenians died, shows that this planning was unfortunately effective.
 
III. Course module objectives
1.  Students will become more knowledgeable about historical tragedy of Armenian Genocide prior to and at the beginning of the 20th Century as they relate to genocide, acts of atrocity, and human rights violations.
2.  Students will become familiar with the consequences of Armenian massacres and slaughters against and victimization of individuals and groups and the subsequent roles and responsibilities of the international community.
3.  Students will be able to analyze critically the creation and impact of victim, survivor, and witness testimony through various forms of expression and articulation.
4. Students will be able to take all of the above information on Armenian genocide and apply it to a current or historical instance of individual and collective instance of human cruelty, mass violence, or genocide.
 
IV. Texts and readings
• Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: 
      Basic Books, 2002).
• Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).
• Richard Hovannisian, Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998).
• Richard Hovannisian, The Armenian Holocaust, (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Armenian Heritage Press (1980).
• Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus, (Berghans Books, Providence, RI, 1997).
 
V. Methodology and assessment
Assessment of performance will be carried out through written assignments, specifically weekly essays and final research paper.
Performance of students will be evaluated as follows:
Weekly essays – 60%
Final research paper - 40%
 
VI. Course module program
 
Class 1.  The Origins of Genocide
• Introduction to Genocide.
• Brief overview of genocide in history, from ancient times to the present. 
  “Seeing” and “Studying” Mass Targeted Violence against Civilian Populations. 
• What is genocide? What is the relationship between human rights and genocide?
• How can one define genocide? Why are there so many different definitions? 
  What is the effect of this?
• The UN definition and international law. Origins, criticisms.
• What is a genocide study? What case studies are included? Excluded?                Emphasized? What is the significance?
• What is a group? What groups are included under the Genocide Convention? The significance and reinterpretations of the issues of groups, intent and destruction as total and in part.
• How does genocide differ from other types of mass violence, such as massacres, war crimes, crimes against humanity? Related terminology: ethnic cleansing, massacres, politicize, extremely violent societies, etc. What are the differences and their significance?
• What factors, from scarcity to environment to reordering populations, contribute to our understanding the nature of genocidal societies?
 
Required readings:
• Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, Introduction, Chapter 1& 2.
• “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (United Nations, December 9, 1948).
• Benjamin Whitaker, “Revised and Updated Report on the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (The Whitaker Report) (United Nations, July 1985 (excerpts).
• Martin Shaw, “Genocide as a Form of War,” ch. 2 in Shaw, War & Genocide (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), pp. 34-53.
• James C. Scott, “The Revolutionary Party: A Plan and a Diagnosis,” ch. 5 in Scott, Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 147-79. 
 
Assignment 1. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• How pervasive is genocide in human history? What are the practical obstacles to understanding this aspect of our past? 
• What kind of human groups did Lemkin emphasize in his genocide framework, and which did he tend to downplay? Why? 
• Do you think political groups should be included in the genocide category? What about social classes and gender groups? 
 
Class 2   The Armenian Massacres 1894-1896
Background to the Turkish-Armenian Conflict:
• Status of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire.
• The European Powers’ involvement in the Ottoman Empire.
• The Abdul Hamit-era Massacres.
 
Required readings:
• Richard G. Hovannisian, “The Armenian Question in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1914,” in The Armenian People, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), vol. 2, Ch. 7, pp. 203-238.
• Adam Jones, “The Ottoman Destruction of Christian Minorities,” in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, pp. 149-178.
 
Recommended readings:
• Donald Bloxham. The Great Game of Genocide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
• Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), Intro. & Part I: Chs. 1-7, pp. 3-110.
• James J. Reid, “Total War, the Annihilation Ethic and the Armenian Genocide, 1870-1918,” in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), pp. 21-52.
• Stephan H. Astourian, “The Genocidal Process: Reflections on the Armeno-Turkish Polarization,” in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), pp. 53-79.
 
Assignment 2. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• What is the difference between the Armenians massacre, slaughters, atrocities and genocide?
• What was the purpose of killing the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire? 
• Do you think the massacres and slaughters of the Armenians during the Hamidian regime can be considered as genocide? 
• Do you know any examples of massacres going around the world today?  
 
Class 3.  The Young Turk Revolution and Armenians
• The Young Turk Revolution and the emergence of Turkish ultra-nationalism.
• The Adana Massacres.
 
Required readings:
• Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), Chs. 2-3, pp. 47-108.
• Taner Akçam, From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (London: Zed Books, 2004), pp. 59-157.
 
Recommended readings:
• Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), Chs. 10-11, pp. 179-199.
• Robert Melson, “Revolution and Genocide: On the Causes of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), pp. 80-102.
 
Assignment 3. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• What point was Adolf Hitler making when he said: "Who, after all, talks nowadays of the annihilation of the Armenians?" 
• What were the major factors contributing to the outbreak of the Turkish genocide against the minority Armenian population? How and why was the context of World War One significant? 
• What were the dimensions of "eliticide" and "gendercide" in the Armenian genocide? 
 
Class 4.  Implementation of the Armenian Genocide, 1914-1918
• Centralized planning and coordination.
• Mobilization, deportation and massacre.
• The Special Organization.
• The role of Germany.
• The Armenian Genocide as prototype.
 
Required readings:
• Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), Chs. 4-5, pp. 111-204.
• Harpoot Diaries, 1908-1917 (Princeton: Gomidas Institute, 2000), pp. 33-76.
• Robert F. Melson, “The Armenian Genocide as Precursor and Prototype of TwentiethCentury Genocide,” In Is the Holocaust Unique? Edited by Alan S. Rosenbaum (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), pp. 125-137.
 
Recommended readings:
• Taner Akçam, From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (London: Zed Books, 2004), pp. 158-179.
• Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), Chs. 12-16, pp. 203-300.
• Arnold Toynbee, “The Deportations of 1915: Antecedents,” and “The Deportations of 1915: The Procedure,” in The Treatment of The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (New York: J.C. & A.L. Fawcett, Inc., 1990), pp. 627-636, 637-653.
 
Assignment 4. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• What was the role of mass deportations in the genocide? 
• To what extent were the perpetrators of genocide brought to justice after World War One? Why weren't such efforts more successful? 
• What has been the role of the modern Turkish state and its international supporters in denying the Armenian genocide? Are there any signs that the official Turkish position may be changing? Substantiate your answer.
 
Class 5.  The Turkish Military Tribunals, the Rise of Ataturkism, and Geopolitics
• Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Ataturkism.
• The Trial of Perpetrators by the Turkish Military Tribunals: The Case of Yozgat.
 
Required readings:
• Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), Chs. 6-7, pp. 221-271, Ch. 10, pp. 368-376.
• Vahakn N. Dadrian, “Genocide as a Problem of National and International Law: The World War I Armenian Case and Its Contemporary Legal Ramifications.” Yale Journal of International Law 14, no. 2 (1989): 221-334.
 
Recommended readings:
• Vahakn N. Dadrian, The History of the Armenian Genocide (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004), Chs. 17-18, pp. 303-343.
• Vahakn Dadrian, “The Turkish Military Tribunal’s Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court Martial Series,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 11, no.1 (Spring 1997): 28-59.
• Annette Höss, “The Trial of Perpetrators by the Turkish Military Tribunals: The Case of Yozgat,” in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (St. Martin’s Press, 1992), pp. 208-221.
 
Assignment 5.Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages: 
• What was the characteristics of the Atatürkism?
• Do you think Turkish military tribunal was objective? Substantiate your answer.
 
Class 6.  The Genocide of the Assyrians and Greeks as a part of the Ottoman Genocide
• The History of Assyrians and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire.
• The causes of the genocide of Assyrians and Greeks as a part of the Christian population.
 
Required readings:
• Diamidis Panayoiotis, Australia’s first Commisioners for refugees: the call from Macedonia and Australian humanitarian releif through the League of Nations, Journal of the Royal Australian historical Society, VOL. 95, No 1, 2012.
• Aristide D. Caratzas, The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks, 2012.
• Hannibal Travis, "'Native Christians Massacred': The Ottoman Genocide of the Assyrians during World War I," Genocide Studies and Prevention, 1: 3 (2006), pp. 327-371.
• David Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006).
• Anahit Khosroeva, The Assyrian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire and Adjacent territories, The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies published and edited by Richard Hovannisian (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2006).

Assignment 6. 
Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• What was the reason to kill besides the Armenians, the Assyrians and Ponitian Greeks? 
• Do you think the massacres of the Assyrians and Pontiac Greeks can be considered as genocide? Why?
• Do you know any countries or international organizations who recognized the Assyrian and Greek genocides in the Ottoman Empire? 
 
Class 7.  Memories of the Genocide and Survivor Responses
• "Memorycide".
• Survivors stories and their importance on the history of the genocide studies.
 
Required readings:
• Donald E. Miller and Lorna Touryan Miller, Survivors (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), Chs. 8-9, pp. 155-92. 
 
Assignment 7. Students should answer the following questions in up to 5 pages:
• How do governments and other actors seek to control and shape historical memory? What are some examples in the history of genocide?
• Do you know any survivors story on any genocide of the world history? Bring examples.
 
Class 8.  Closing exam
Based on your interest, please choose any topic discussed within this course module and elaborate analytic research paper (10-12 pages). 
Դուք այստեղ եք: Ուսումնական ծրագրեր Հայագիտություն Armenian Genocide