FRESNO — Dr. Elyse Semerdjian will present a lecture entitled “Remnants: Embodied Archives of the Armenian Genocide” at 7:00PM on Thursday, April 25, 2024, in the Smittcamp Alumni House on the Fresno State campus. The presentation is part of the Spring 2024 Lecture Series of the Armenian Studies Program. Support for the presentation is provided by the Ralph Shabazian Armenian Memorial Fund.

This exploration of the Armenian Genocide is told through the traces left in the memories and on the bodies of its women survivors. Foremost among the images of the Armenian Genocide is the specter of tattooed Islamized Armenian women. Blue tribal tattoos that covered face and body signified assimilation into Muslim Bedouin and Kurdish households. Among Armenians, the tattooed survivor was seen as a living ethno-martyr or, alternatively, a national stain, and the bodies of women and children figured centrally within the Armenian communal memory and humanitarian imaginary. In Remnants, these tattooed and scar-bearing bodies reveal a larger history, as the lived trauma of genocide is understood through bodies, skin, and – in what remains of those lives a century afterward –bones.

Elyse Semerdjian is Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. She is a social historian of the Ottoman Empire whose research focuses on the experiences of women and the empire’s Armenian subjects. She has authored “Off the Straight Path”: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo (Syracuse University Press, 2008) and Remnants: Embodied Archives of the Armenian Genocide (Stanford University Press, 2023) as well as several articles on gender, Ottoman Armenians, urban history, and law in the Ottoman Empire.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Smittcamp Alumni House is located at 2625 E. Matoian Way, on the Fresno State campus. Parking is available in Fresno State Lots P1 and P2 (free parking permits will be available at the venue). Enter the campus at Shaw and Maple Aves. and turn right onto Matoian Way (first stop sign). The Smittcamp Alumni House is the second building on the left.

The lecture will also be streamed on the Armenian Studies YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/armenianstudiesyoutube.

For information about upcoming Armenian Studies Program presentations, please follow us on our Facebook page, @ArmenianStudiesFresnoState or at the Program website, https://fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

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