Scholars from around the world will convene at Istanbul Bilgi University on April 26, 2015, to participate in an international conference entitled “The Armenian Genocide: Concepts and Comparative Perspectives” and co-sponsored by Istanbul Bilgi University, the History Foundation in Turkey (Tarih Vakfı), and the Modern Armenian History Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The conference is part of the week-long series of activities commemorating the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul organized by DurDe, a Turkish human rights organization, and Project 2015, a US-based group helping to organize Armenians visiting Turkey for the historic commemoration.
“This is a very important opportunity for scholars from around the world to address critical aspects of the facts and history of the Armenian Genocide here, in Istanbul, 100 years after it started,” said Bülent Bilmez, chair of Bilgi’s history department and the History Foundation in Turkey. “We hope that speaking openly about the shared history of Armenians and the other peoples of Turkey—something that has not always been possible—will help our society come to terms with the past.”
Among the scholars participating in the conference are Norman Naimark, Jay Winter, Dirk Moses, Müge Göçek, Cathie Carmichael, Keith Watenpaugh, Uğur Ümit Üngör, and Mehmet Polatel. The gathering will probe the concept of genocide from a comparative perspective, explore the forced transfer of children, and examine how the genocide has been mapped in historiography and memorialized and enshrined in collective and historical memory.
“To those who have suggested that historians review the history of the Armenian Genocide we say, ‘We are coming to Istanbul to do just that, with fellow historians in Turkey,’ ” said Sebouh Aslanian, Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair of Modern Armenian History at the History Department of the University of California, Los Angeles. “A frank and open discussion of the historical record is our way of contributing to knowledge and education about the Armenian Genocide in Turkey.”