FRESNO — “Eradicating Culture, Erasing Lives: Children and the Armenian and Native American Genocides” will be the topic of a presentation by Dr. Keith Watenpaugh (UC Davis) at 7:00PM on Thursday, February 1, 2024, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, on the Fresno State campus. The event is supported by the Florence Elaine Hamparson Armenian Memorial Fund.

In this talk, Dr. Watenpaugh, Professor and Director at UC Davis Human Rights Studies, draws the genocide of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire into the comparative study of indigenous genocide. He focuses on the erasure of indigenous children’s identity by state authorities through boarding schools to argue that the ideology and practice of modern humanitarianism is a definitive shared element of indigenous genocides across the late-19th and early-20th Centuries. Common experiences of denial by powerful states and cultural erasure invite added comparison and intersectional solidarity. The talk seeks to address Native American and Armenian Studies scholars together, elaborate a working vocabulary for future collaborative research in Human Rights Studies and serve as a point of departure for public scholarship and policy engagement.

Dr. Watenpaugh is Professor and Founding Director of Human Rights Studies at the University of California, Davis. Since 2013, he has directed a multi-disciplinary international research program to assist refugee university students and scholars fleeing the war in Syria, which has garnered support from the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Open Society Foundations. Currently he leads an effort to expand refugee access to higher education through the Ford-foundation supported Article 26 Backpack project. He is author of the multiple-award winning Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (University of California Press, 2015), and his first book, Being Modern in the Middle East (Princeton University Press, 2006) chronicles the rise of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious middle class of the city of Aleppo in the first decades of the 20th Century.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available, with a parking code provided at the lecture, in Fresno State Lot P6, near the University Business Center, 5245 N Backer Ave., Fresno State.

The presentation will also be live-streamed on YouTube at:

For information about upcoming Armenian Studies Program presentations, please follow us on our Facebook page, @ArmenianStudiesFresnoState or at the Program website,

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