BELMONT — Dr. Owen Miller of the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College, will give a lecture entitled “The Massacre in the Sasun Mountains (1894): Interpretations of Violence at the End of Empire,” on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Center, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478. This will be Dr. Miller’s first lecture in the Boston area.
In the late summer of 1894, several battalions of Ottoman soldiers were ordered into the mountains of Sasun, south of the fertile plains of Moush, in current day southeastern Turkey. The commander of the troops, Colonel Ismail, gave orders for battalions to be assembled into a square. Just that morning, Colonel Ismail had been given direct orders from Abdulhamid II himself to destroy the Armenian bandits who were operating in these remote mountains.
After this order was given, the soldiers advanced on the villages of the Shadakh valley in the Sasun Mountains. The entire Armenian population of the region was regarded as rebellious and one to two thousand men, women and children were murdered.
Scholars who work within the vein of Ottoman Studies usually present the 1894 Sasun violence as the first major rebellion of Armenian nationalists against the State. Alternatively, many scholars in Armenian Studies have presented the 1894 events as the first major episode of Ottoman State mass violence against its Armenian populace. Both perspectives view the violence as an outcome of competing nationalisms. In this lecture, Dr. Owen Miller will examine what is unaddressed by the dueling perspectives, along with a detailed account of why the violence took place, and how it is remembered.
Dr. Owen Miller is an affiliated faculty member at the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College in Boston. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and holds an MA and PhD in history from Columbia University. His 2015 dissertation was entitled “Sasun 1894: Mountains, Missionaries and Massacres at the End of the Ottoman Empire.”
For more information about Dr. Miller’s talk, contact NAASR at 617-489-1610 or [email protected].