MISSION HILLS — Ümit Kurt, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Clark University in Worcester, MA, will present a lecture entitled “The Emergence of the New Wealthy Class Between 1915-1922: The Seizure of Armenian Property by Local Elites in Aintab,” and the documentary “My Father’s Aintab”.
The Lecture is scheduled for Sunday, September 15, 2013, at 4:00 p.m. at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery, 15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills, CA. It is sponsored by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). A reception will follow the lecture.
The processes of genocide and deportation directed at Aintab Armenians were in fact put into practice by local notables and provincial elites themselves, and these local actors actually prospered and became a new wealthy social class through the acquisition of Armenians’ property and wealth. In this respect, Ümit Kurt argues that the Committee of Union and Progress’ (CUP) genocide and deportation decree had a certain social background, effective power, and control and support mechanism(s) at the local levels. Therefore, what took place at the local areas or periphery deserves to be examined.
By zooming in on Aintab, Kurt sheds light on the origins of the property and wealth of local and provincial elites/notables in Aintab and how massacred and deported Armenians’ properties in Aintab changed hands. To date no comprehensive research has been done that examines in detail the expropriation of Ottoman Armenians in general and in Aintab in particular as a component of the genocide.
Ümit Kurt, a native of Aintab in 1984, holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle East Technical University in Political Science and Public Administration and a Master’s from Sabancý University in the department of European Studies. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Clark University and an instructor at Sabancý University. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including most recently Kanunlarýn Ruhu: Emval-i Metruke Kanunlarýnda Soykýrýmýn Ýzlerini Aramak (The Spirit of Laws: Seeking for the Traces of Armenian Genocide in the Laws of Abandoned Property, 2012), with Taner Akçam. His main area of interest is confiscation of the Armenian properties and the role of local elites/notables in Aintab during the Armenian genocide.