In my research I explore collective memory, national myths and multi-collectivity in the contested geography of Eastern Turkey, Northern Kurdistan and Western Armenia. Hereby, I will analyse Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish accounts. While the dichotomic angle of current research stresses the Armenian issue and the Kurdish issue as two separate events that merely coincide in the same geographical space, I will instead focus on their interdependence across a spatio-temporal scale. In this regard, I will show that the physical 1915 genocide (or garmir jard) and cultural post-1915 mnemocide (or spitak jard)are located at the conjunction point of today's conflicting boundary perceptions, linking together the erasure of Ottoman Armenians from Eastern Anatolia (1915) and the Kurdish conflict (1984-now). Focusing on mutual narrative-patterns that can facilitate the bridging of accounts beyond the ethno-national divide I explore the possibility of a joint commemoration of the 1915 genocide regardless of the categories perpetrator and victim.
Since September last year I am conducting field work in Armenia within the frameworks of the Erasmus Mundus MID PhD mobility grant. Including both the urban Yerevan and rural areas in the Armavir, Aragatsotn and Kotayk provinces, I have been able to conduct 36 in-depth interviews, collecting audio material of over 40 hours. My focus region around the Van Lake area is represented with 11 recordings with Mushetsi Armenians, as well as each 8 recordings with Sassuntsi and Vanetsi Armenians. Interview partners comprise different generations which I tentatively divided up into three cohorts, corresponding with the early-Soviet (born before WWII.), late-Soviet (born after WWII.) and Republican (born shortly before or after the Nagorny-Karabakh war) generation. This allows me to explore the evolution of memory in both a temporal and spatial perspective. In my conference paper I will focus on two exemplary cases, each on Mush and Van.
Leupold, David, "Genocide-Memorialization beyond the ethno-national divide - Bridging Memories of Armenians, Turks and Kurds on Van, Mush and Sassun" (2015). CHGS Conference Proceedings. 42.