Violence and the Archives | Ümit Kurt & Owen Miller

E381 | The historian who wishes to study episodes of mass violence is confronted by numerous challenges. Perpetrators of violence may seek to obscure or distort historical events; victims are often left without a voice. Accounts found in newspapers, books, and archives may offer vivid detail but frame events in a biased or incomplete manner. How can the scholar account for diverging narratives or subjective experiences of violence while seeking to separate facts from fiction? In this episode, we speak to Ümit Kurt and Owen Miller, two scholars who have studied the Armenian massacres of the 1890s and the Armenian Genocide through the cases of Aintab and Sasun respectively. We will discuss perils and possibilities of studying violence in the late Ottoman Empire, and we'll learn about the different perspectives on the past that await researchers in the archive and beyond. More at Ümit Kurt earned his PhD in history at Clark University in 2016. He is Polonsky Fellow in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Dr. Kurt is engaged in his work with examining transfer of Armenian wealth, transformation of space, elite-making process, ordinary perpetrators, collective violence, microhistories, inter-ethnic conflicts, Armenian genocide and early modern Turkish nationalism. He has taught at Clark University, Boğaziçi, Fresno State University, and Sabancı University. He was the recipient of prestigious Armenian Studies Scholarship Award from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in 2016-17 in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of Türk'ün Büyük Biçare Irkı: Türk Yurdu'nda Milliyetçiliğin Esasları 1911-1916 (Istanbul: İletişim, 2012); the co-author of The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015); editor of Kıyam ve Kıtal: Osmanlı'dan Cumhuriyet'e Devletin İnşası ve Kolektif Şiddet (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı, 2015); and the author of Antep 1915: Soykırım ve Failler (Istanbul: İletişim, 2018). His translations from Armenian to Turkish and English have been published in Gomidas Institute and Tarih Vakfı. His articles have appeared in Nations and Nationalism, Middle Eastern Studies, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, The Journal of Genocide Research, Genocide Studies International, Patterns of Prejudice, Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Études arméniennes contemporaines and Culture and Religion. He is now Kazan Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State University. Owen Miller is currently an assistant professor at Bilkent University. He received his B.A. from U.C. Santa Cruz and Ph.D. in International and Global History from Columbia University. He studies histories of upland communities, violence, and colonialism in the late Ottoman Empire. He is currently writing a book on the experiences of the Goodell family in the Ottoman Empire, the American South and Hawai'i. CREDITS Episode No. 381 Release Date: 30 September 2018 Recording Location: Cambridge, MA Audio editing by Sam Dolbee Music: Zé Trigueiros Bibliography and images courtesy of Ümit Kurt and Owen Miller available at

Ottoman History Podcast