Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Students talking at Graduate Conference

2017-2018 Events
Free and Open to the Public

3 April 2018 | 6:00 p.m. Reception | 7:00 p.m. Lecture
Armenian Museum, Watertown | 65 Main Street | Watertown, MA 02471

Killing Orders: The Smoking Gun behind the Armenian Genocide

Speaker: Professor Taner Akçam, Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stpehen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies, Clark University

Clark University historian Taner Akçam has made landmark discoveries that prove the Ottoman government’s central role in planning the Armenian genocide. Despite decades of scholarly research, the scarcity of direct evidence has allowed Turkey to persist in its denial. Professor Akçam will discuss the findings published in his groundbreaking new book, Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide (2018). He will highlight a recently discovered document, a “smoking gun,”which removes the cornerstone of Turkey’s denialism. He will show that the killing orders signed by Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha, which the Turkish Government has long discredited, are authentic.

Taner Akçam holds the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark’s Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. An internationally recognized human rights activist, Akçam was one of the first Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge and openly discuss the Armenian Genocide

12 April 2018 | 7:30 p.m. | Dana Commons
Higgins Lounge, Clark University

Anthropological Methods for Documenting Human Rights Violations and Genocide

Speaker: Victoria Sanford (Anthropology Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies, Lehman College)

Drawing on 25 years of experience investigating human rights violation and genocide in Guatemala, Sanford will discuss the theory and practice of forensic exhumations, victim identification, archival and testimonial research and their interplay in legal processes and community desires for justice. She will explore the ways in which science and law and justice complement and collide with one another as investigations move forward from the field to legal courts and the court of public opinion.  She will also consider the role of the researcher as both documentarian and participant in the production of history as well as legal precedence.  

Sponsored by the Asher Family Fund

23 April 2018 | 4:00pm | Rose Library
Cohen-Lasry House, Clark University

Justifying Genocide - Germany's Entangled History with the Armenian Genocide and its Reperecussions

Speaker: Stefan Ihrig (Professor of History at the University of Haifa)

For Germany, the Armenian Genocide did not take place "far away in Turkey."  It was something very close to home. Relations between the German empire and the Ottoman Empire had been close since the 1890s.  Since then Germany had become accustomed to excuse violence against the Armenians, mostly in distorted racial discourses.  After World War I, a great genocide debate took place in Germany, centered on the Armenian Genocide.  German nationalists first denied and then justified genocide in sweeping terms.  The Nazis, too, came to see genocide as justifiable: In their version of history, the Armenian Genocide had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey.  This also means that the Armenian Genocide and the Nazi Holocaust were not separate by great distances in time and space as is so often assumed.  But what does this mean for our understanding of the bloody 20th century?

Sponsored by the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

21 February 2018 | 4:00 p.m. | Dana Commons
Higgins Lounge, Clark University

The Ottoman Empire through the Lens of the American Civil War: Slavery and the 1890s' Armenian Massacres in Comparative Perspective.

Speaker: Owen Miller (Postdoctoral fellow, Union College)

In the 1890s, a series of massacres targeted Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.  Two American Civil War veterans living in Istanbul reported on the killings, both comparing it to the violence against African Americans in their native country.  One, a former Confederate general, thought reports of the Armenian killings were overblown, while the other, a former Union army soldier sounded the alarms, as tens of thousands were murdered.  Dr. Owen Miller will examine these competing claims and discuss some of the underlying patterns behind mass violence against African Americans in the US and against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire

Sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Professor, The Department of History, Africana Studies, and the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies.

1 March 2018 | 4:00 p.m. | Rose Library
Cohen-Lasry House, Clark University

Soldiers for Christ in Hitler's Germany: The Salvation Army and the Nazi State

Speaker: Rebecca Carter-Chand (Visiting Assistant Professor, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University)

In the 1930's, the Salvation Army operated around the world.  As in other countries, the German branch of this Protestant organization offered social services and a spiritual community for Germany's urban poor and working classes, as well as large-scale humanitarian aid.  How did this organization fare after the Nazi Party came to power? Carter-Chand will discuss why the Salvation Army aligned itself with the Nazi government and how it continued to operate during the war.  She will situate the Salvation Army in the context of other German churches and sects, as well as recent scholarship on internationalism and the Volksgemeinschaft (people's community).

Sponsored by the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

27 March 2018 | 1:25-2:40 p.m.| Rose Library
Cohen-Lasry House, Clark University
Especially for Students Lecture

Stalin's Forced Labor Camps: A Re-examination

Speaker: Golfo Alexopoulos (Professor of History, University of South Florida, Tampa and Director of the USF Institute on Russia)

Alexopoulos will discuss her new book, Illness and Inhumanity in Stalin's Gulag, which is the first scholarly work devoted to health and medicine in Stalin's forced labor camps.  Drawing upon recently declassified Gulag archives, the book argues that the system of human exploitation in the Stalinist Gulag was willfully destructive.  Stalin's camps systematically worked prisoners to the point of near death and then discarded them en masse. The book argues that prisoner mortality in the Gulag was much greater than previously believed and that Stalin's Gulag constituted one of the 20th century's greatest crimes against humanity.

Reception and book signing to follow the lecture. 

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science (Chester Bland Fund), and the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Ina and Haskell Gordon Endowed Fund)

For more information on any of these events, contact Robyn Conroy:

For past events please refer to our Speaker Archives page.