BELMONT, MA — Dr. Lerna Ekmekcioglu, McMillan-Stewart Career Development Assistant Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give a lecture entitled “Wishful Thinking or Insidious Camouflage? Armenians Responding to the New Turkey (1923-1933),” highlighting NAASR’s 2012 Christmas Open House on Thursday, December 6, 2012. The Open House will begin at 6:00 p.m. and conclude at 11:00 p.m., with Ekmekcioglu’s talk set for 8:00 p.m. The evening’s events will take place at the NAASR Center, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA.
Special Book Sale and 2013 Project SAVE Calendar Available
Both before and after the lecture, NAASR’s bookstore will be open and feature a one night only 20%-off sale, with additional discounts of 40% or more on selected titles. Numerous recently published titles will be available.
Ruth Thomasian, Founder and Executive Director of Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, will be on hand with the 2013 calendar “Armenians a Century Ago: In the Homeland and Diaspora.” The calendar, as always featuring remarkable photographs from Project SAVE’s enormous archival collection, provides a glimpse of the diversity of Armenian life during the pre-genocide years.
A Look at Armenians in the Early Years of the Turkish Republic
Dr. Ekmekcioglu will be speaking at NAASR for the first time. Her lecture will examine the previously under-studied Armenian community in Turkey in the first decade of the Turkish Republic. How did Armenians respond to the establishment of the new Turkey in 1923? Was this Republic really “new” for them? What can we learn about the early Turkish Republic when we look at it from the perspective of its Armenian citizens?
Focusing on 1920s and 30s Armenian spokespeople, intellectuals, and lay and religious leadership, Ekmekcioglu will demonstrate that Armenian responses to the state’s policies (homogenization, secularization, Westernization) included cooperation, accommodation, and camouflaging, as well as certain forms of more overt resistance that took the shape of calls to preserve Armenianness inside those spaces in which the state did not care or dare to interfere. She argues that neither the Turkish Republic’s policies nor the Armenian responses were completely new. The Ottoman past mattered much more than either group would admit.
Dr. Ekmekcioglu joined M.I.T. in 2011 after a post-doc year at the University of Michigan’s Armenian Studies Program. The holder of a doctorate from New York University, she teaches courses related to the modern Middle East, with a focus on its ethnic diversity and majority-minority relations. She is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program and teaches courses on gender in the Middle East and North Africa. As the holder of the McMillan-Stewart Chair she organizes lectures that pertain to women in the developing world.
She is currently working on a monograph titled Surviving the New Turkey: Armenians in Post-Ottoman Istanbul, which analyzes the ways in which survivors of the Armenian genocide who continued living inside Turkish borders crafted themselves a new presence to be able to co-habit peacefully with the perpetrator society.
More information about Ekmekcioglu’s lecture, the NAASR Christmas Open House, or NAASR and its programs for the furtherance of Armenian studies, research, and publication may be had by calling 617-489-1610, faxing 617-484-1759, e-mailing email@example.com, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.