Assistant Professor, Alex Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian History; Assistant Professor, Anthropology
I joined the University of Michigan in 2016 as the Alex Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian History in the history department, and I'm also an assistant professor in anthropology (by courtesy).
- Silences and absences in ethnography; indigenous populations; settler colonialism; displacement and migration; storytelling; anthropology of history.
- Post-Ottoman societies (Middle East/Balkans); modern Armenians; Turkey; France; Middle Eastern Christians and Eastern Christianities.
My work is situated in the intersection between social anthropology and history where I focus on the ruins of undocumented histories, ethnographic silences, memory, and nation-state building in Middle East and the Balkans—or what I prefer to call ‘post-Ottoman societies’. I am currently working on a book manuscript on the unwritten history of the Armenian citizens of Turkey that builds on settler colonial literature to depict the Armenian experience as it unravelled with nation-state building in Turkey. Based on ethnographic and archival work in France and Turkey, the book critiques the writing of ethnocentric history by positioning the fragmented episodes of Anatolian Armenian past in the wider Turkish republican history.
Generally, my research seeks to find alternative approaches to the study post-Ottoman histories and societies by brining the historical context of the Balkans in shaping the contemporary Middle East. It seeks to interrogate settler colonial literature to situate state-building projects, the politics of “minorities”/“majorities” in governing population diversity, legally ambiguous populations, and sectarianism in everyday life. In addition to my work on Anatolian Armenians, I am interested in marginal populations such as Christians and Mizrahi/Arab Jews in the Middle East and Muslims in the Balkans and France.
My work has been largely informed by the critiques of Walter Benjamin and Edward Said as I navigate ways of storytelling, politics of representation, and the authorship of texts in ethnography and historiography. I am co-founding member of the ‘Reading Walter Benjamin’ network, and continue to serve on the steering committee of the ‘Theory and Practice Workshop in the Humanities and Social Sciences’ at the American University in Cairo, where I taught before joining U-M.
‘Internal Orientalism and the Nation-State Order: Turkey, Armenians, and the Writing of History’ in ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2020.
‘Returning to the Question of Europe: From the Standpoint of the Defeated’ in The Arab and Jewish Questions: Geographies of Engagement in Palestine and Beyond. Columbia University Press, 2020.
‘Looking Backwards and Downwards: Walter Benjamin and the Non-European’ An introduction to Echoes of Walter Benjamin: On Tradition, History, and Revolution. Dar Hunna Elles, 2020.
‘Rethinking the “Post-Ottoman”: Anatolian Armenians as an Ethnographic Perspective’ in Anthropology of the Middle East. Soraya Altorki, ed. Blackwell, 2015.
‘Diaspora Activism and the Politics of Locality: The Armenians of France’ in Diaspora and Transnational Studies Companion. Ato Quayson and Girish Daswani, eds. Blackwell, 2013.
‘The Arab/Jewish Counterpoint: An Interview with Daniel Barenboim on the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra’ in Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation, 2010.
Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation. University of California Press, 2010 (co-edited with Adel Iskandar).
- Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History
- Center for Armenian Studies
- Center for Middle East Studies and North Africa
- Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
- Global Islamic Studies Center
- African Studies Center