Claims of Armenian-ness in Turkey: An Ethnography of Identification and Boundary-Making

Lecture | October 5 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 3335 Dwinelle Hall

 Hrag Papazian, Doctoral Student, Oxford University; Visiting Lecturer, USC Institute of Armenian Studies, USC Institute of Armenian Studies

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Armenian Studies Program

Armenian identity in Turkey has recently been going through a process of diversification. Whereas the long-established Christian Armenian community was for decades the sole explicit bearer of 'Armenian-ness' in the country, that monopoly is now challenged by ‘newcomers.’ The latter are Muslim citizens of Turkey, either by only categorization or by also belief, who self-identify as Armenians, and citizens of Armenia arriving as labor migrants. How is ‘Armenian-ness’ imagined, (re)produced and experienced by members of each of these three categories? What types of social and symbolic boundaries have emerged between them? How to explain the making of those intra-Armenian boundaries in contemporary Turkey?

Hrag Papazian is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Oxford, researching Armenians and Armenian identity(ies) in contemporary Turkey. He received his M.Phil. degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford (2015) and his B.A. degree in Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University (2013). His theoretical interests include the production and evolution of collective and individual identities, the emergence, maintenance and contestation of social boundaries, memory, politics, power and resistance.