The book, based on new research, sheds light on the history of the Social Democrat Hnchakian Party, a major Armenian revolutionary party that operated in the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Persia and throughout the global Armenian diaspora. Divided into sections which cover the origins, ideology, and regional history of the SDHP, the book situates the history of the Hnchaks within debates around socialism, populism, and nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries. The SDHP was not only an Armenian party but had a global Marxist outlook, and scholars in this volume bring to bear expertise in a wide range of histories and languages including Russian, Turkish, Persian and Latin American to trace the emergence and role this influential party played from their split with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the events of the Armenian genocide to the formation of the first Armenian Republic and then Soviet Armenia. Putting the Hnchaks in context as one of many nationalist radical groups to emerge in Eurasia in the late 19th century, the book is an important contribution to Armenian historiography as well as that of transnational revolutionary movements in general.
“This is the first edited volume in English language that discusses the multidimensional and rich history of the of the Social Democrat Hnchakian party in the Ottoman, Russian, and the Persian empires and beyond. It is based on archival material in multiple languages including but not limited to the Ottoman, Armenian, British, and French archives,” said Der Matossian. “The volume is unique in that it brings together leading senior and junior scholars to assess the role of the Social Democrat Hnchakian Party in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. The volume is divided into three sections: From Inception to the First Republic of Armenia (1918-1920); Regional and Local Histories; and Ideology,” stated Der Matossian.
“This first-ever edited collection on the Hnchakian Party is a very welcome intervention in a historiography that includes few scholarly contributions on the party. Especially noteworthy and compelling is the volume’s reexamination of the party’s history in light of new sources in multiple languages and approaches that-just to name a few examples-consider the party’s local and regional operations in the eastern Ottoman provinces, its relationships with non-Armenian neighbors, and its exclusion from the collective memory of Turkish socialism.” ―Houri Berberian, Professor, University of California Berkeley, USA
“This unique collection of articles is not only a major contribution to Armenian studies, adding to our knowledge of one of the most dedicated revolutionary parties in the Armenian world, but also a work that fills a lacuna in late Ottoman history and the history of the international Left. Bringing together Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish, and other scholars, the editor Bedross Der Matossian’s volume illuminates the activities, ideologies, achievements, and frustrations of Marxist revolutionaries in the Ottoman world. Working within the legal limits after the Young Turk revolution of 1908, the Hnchaks were unable to deliver to Armenians the promises of equality and protection for which they were prepared to sacrifice their lives. While they were doomed to witness the annihilation of their people in the genocide of 1915, their experience deserves to be remembered and woven into the fabric of Ottoman history. This volume is the first important attempt to achieve that long-denied recognition.” ―Ronald Grigor Suny, Professor, The University of Michigan, USA
“For quite a while the Ottoman Empire was considered as a preliminary stage in the history of nation-states that followed it. However, the communities consisted of people with different class positions and did not live in isolation from each other. The Hnchakian Party was not only a political party but also a social movement that cannot, therefore, be reduced to just one stage in the history of a nation. Thus, analyzing different aspects of this movement, this outstanding book offers a unique treasure to understand not only the Hnchaks but also the last decades of the Empire as a whole.” ―Y. Dogan Çetinkaya, Professor, Istanbul University, Turkey
The list of contributors in the order of their contribution are Der Matossian, “Introduction: The Social Democrat Hnchakian Party in the Course of History”; Abel Manoukian, “The History of a Group Picture and the Foundation Date of a “Revolutionary Society” in Geneva”; Garabet K. Moumdjian †, “ The Hnchakian “Nay” to Young Turk Overtures, 1895-1908”; Yeghig Jeredjian, “A Newly Discovered Letter of Sabah-Gulian to Paramaz”; Richard G. Hovannisian†,
“The Hnchakian Party and the First Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)”; Toygun Altıntaş “Armenians, Muslims, Citizens: Hnchak Pamphleteering in Central Anatolia”; Varak Ketsemanian, “Peasants, Pastoralists, and Revolutionaries: Hnchakians and Armeno-Kurdish Relations in Late Ottoman Eastern Anatolia”; Ümit Kurt, “The Hnchakian Revolutionary Party in Aintab: Founders, Ideology and Structure”; Vahram Shemmassian, “Absolute Monarchy: The Social Democrat Hnchakian Revolutionary Episode in Armenian Musa Dagh during the 1890s”; Vartan Matiossian, “The Hnchakian Party in the Armenian Communities of South America: An Outline of its Early History”; Gerard J. Libaridian, “Ideology and Reality: Hnchakian Paradoxes at Birth”; Gaïdz Minassian, “The Social Democrat Hnchakian Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Fraternal Twins or Semi-Identical Twins?”; Yaşar Tolga Cora, “The Istanbul Students’ Union of the Social Democrat Hnchakian Party and its Periodical Kaytz (1911-1914)”; and Kadir Akin, “In the Footsteps of Hidden History: The Roots of Socialism in the Ottoman Empire.”
Copies of The Armenian Social Democrat Hnchakian Party: Politics, Ideology and Transnational History, are available for purchase from the Bloomsbury Press website. Use code: GLR AQ4 to receive a 35-percent discount.
Der Matossian is the vice-chair, professor of Modern Middle East History and Hymen Rosenberg Professor in Judaic Studies at the Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He is the past president of the Society for Armenian Studies (SAS). He is the author, co-editor and editor of seven volumes including his latest, Denial of Genocides in the Twenty-First Century published by University of Nebraska Press in 2023.