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Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide - 
      Vartan Matiossian

Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide

Language, History and ‘Medz Yeghern’

This book explores the genealogy of the concept of ‘Medz Yeghern’ (‘Great Crime’), the Armenian term for the mass murder and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian ethno-religious group in the Ottoman Empire between the years 1915-1923. Les mer
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This book explores the genealogy of the concept of ‘Medz Yeghern’ (‘Great Crime’), the Armenian term for the mass murder and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian ethno-religious group in the Ottoman Empire between the years 1915-1923. Widely accepted by historians as one of the classical cases of genocide in the 20th century, ascribing the right definition to the crime has been a source of contention and controversy in international politics. Vartan Matiossian here draws upon extensive research based on Armenian sources, neglected in much of the current historiography, as well as other European languages in order to trace the development of the concepts pertaining to mass killing and genocide of Armenians from the ancient to the modern periods. Beginning with an analysis of the term itself, he shows how the politics of its use evolved as Armenians struggled for international recognition of the crime after 1945, in the face of Turkish protest. Taking a combined historical, philological, literary and political perspective, the book is an insightful exploration of the politics of naming a catastrophic historical event, and the competitive nature of national collective memories.
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Utgitt:
Forlag: I.B. Tauris
Innbinding: Innbundet
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 296
ISBN: 9780755641086
Format: 23 x 16 cm
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«Matiossian offers an analytical narrative of the changing uses of “Medz Yeghern,” one of several terms used by Armenians to denote the genocide they suffered a generation before Lemkin invented that English term. Immersed in the historical record as well as the contemporary archives of Armenian genocide memorialization, Turkish denial and American collaboration with that effort, Matiossian offers a matchless analysis of texts ranging from newspaper articles and books to 114 monuments and shows how diplomats seeking to evade the moral and legal consequences of fully acknowledging the genocide sought to use the Armenian term for shameful camouflage. His compelling analysis is a unique contribution and its two lengthy Appendices offer a matchless record for future investigations of the links between language and politics.»

Khachig Tölölyan, Emeritus Professor of Letters, Wesleyan University, USA

«Vartan Matiossian’s book is an erudite overview of the uses of the Armenian word Yeghern across the ages and an in-depth study of the systematic misuses of this same word in translation within the languages of the civilized world, especially in the last few decades, allegedly for the sake of reconciliation or for more obscure political reasons. The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide offers its readers a superb demonstration of the fact that, at least in the cases where genocidal will is at work, an event can acquire a historical existence only through its meaningful reception. This is yet another confirmation of the Hegelian law according to which there can be reality only there where some sense is involved, albeit retrospectively.»

Marc Nichanian, author of The Historiographic Perversion (2009)
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration

Introduction Silencing the Name

Part I Language and History
Chapter 1 Yeghern until the Late Nineteenth Century
Chapter 2 Yeghern before and after 1915
Chapter 3 Medz Yeghern and “Genocide” in Armenia and the Diaspora

Part II Politics and Language
Chapter 4 Vatican: “From the Depths of the Metz Yeghérn”
Chapter 5 Turkey: “The Denial of the Great Catastrophe”
Chapter 6 United States: “Genocide of the Armenians” and “Meds Yeghern”
Chapter 7 From Uruguay to the United States: On Words of Recognition

Conclusion Unsilencing the Name

Appendix A The Meaning of Yeghern in Scholarship
Appendix B Yeghern and “Genocide” in Memorial Inscriptions

Bibliography
Vartan Matiossian is a historian and literary scholar living in the United States. He received his PhD from the Academy of Sciences of Armenia and has taught Armenian history and language in Buenos Aires and New Jersey from 1988-2004 on primary, secondary and college levels. He has authored four books in Armenian three books in Spanish, has edited or co-edited three volumes (Spanish, English, and Armenian), and translated 12 volumes from Armenian into Spanish.