University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

Choiceless Choices: American Missionaries and the Armenian Genocide

What happens when human beings are faced with the ineffable, the incredible, the unimaginable, and the dangerous?  American missionaries to Armenia both witnessed and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the genocide of 1915.  This talk explores the element of felt compulsion in European-Ottoman relations and American evangelizing zeal that preceded the genocide.  It focuses on why American missionaries first came to Armenia and on their subsequent encounter with the progressively dehumanizing  elements of genocide that precede actual killing--systematic attack on the idea of community and the separation of  individuals from notions of the normal in human relations to one another, to property, agency and time.