Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt. Eine ausführliche Kurzfasssung in deutscher Übersetzung wird ausgegelegt.
The Armenian Genocide was a central event in the last stages of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The traditional imperial paradigm that had reigned in the Ottoman Empire was steadily undermined by a number of factors: the revolutionary changes in the West that rendered the Ottoman Empire a backward and vulnerable society; the attempt to modernize along western lines by the Tanzimat reformers; the differentially successful adaptations to modern life by different millets, with the Christians and Jews ahead of the Muslims; the discourse of the nation that created new sources of political legitimation and undermined the traditional imperial ones. After centuries of governing the Armenians as a separate ethnoreligious community, the Ermeni millet, and conceiving of them as the “loyal millet,” the Ottoman state authorities and Turkish political elites, including the Young Turks, began to see Armenians as an alien people, as disloyal, subversive, “separatist,” and a threat to the unity of the empire, which now required greater homogenization. This perception was compounded more broadly by anxiety about the relative economic success of Armenian businessmen and craftsmen, the competition for the limited economic resources, particularly land, between Kurds, Turks, and Armenians in eastern Anatolia, and a sense that Armenian progress was reversing the traditional imperial status hierarchy with Muslims above the dhimmi. A hostile disposition toward the Armenians made Turks more likely to see their actions not as defensive but rebellious, not as loyal but treacherous, and allowed Turks to take vengeful action against these supposed traitors. There is no defense for genocide, but historians must attempt to understand what drove a government to murder massively its own citizens.
Ronald Grigor Suny is the Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History at the University of Michigan and Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Baku Commune, 1917-1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution; Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History; The Making of the Georgian Nation; The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union; and The Soviet Experiment.