Research Mentor(s): Samer Ali, Associate Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Islamic Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 3
Current research on the Armenian Genocide of 1915 (??? ?????) is thorough and comprehensive, but when it addresses Armenian resistance to these crimes, it tends to focus on armed resistance rather than nonviolent resistance. Additionally, research on individual Ottoman Armenian towns and villages is generally cultural in nature, and while this is extremely important, it also tends to overlook the village’s nonviolent resistance to genocide, when present. This results in the belief that provincial Armenians were either passive to the atrocities they faced, or that they could only protect themselves through reactionary violence. This study aims to show that the Armenians the twin towns of Evereg and Fenesse (modern Develi) were able to nonviolently resist their complete erasure from this world through the foundation of the Evereg Mesrobian and Fenesse Roupinian educational societies by using a combination of historical analysis and interviews of the descendants of the survivors of Evereg and Fenesse. An analysis of these texts could show that the curriculum inspired a revolutionary mentality, or that the subjects studied at these educational institutions allowed for the preservation of the cultures of Evereg and Fenesse as its inhabitants (the few who were lucky enough to survive massacre, that is) made their way to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and eventually the United States. Hopefully, this research will show that the existence of these educational societies aided in the survival of Evereg and Fenesse Armenians themselves. These pre-genocide and post-genocide accounts will show that when armed resistance to ethnic cleansing is not an option, nonviolent resistance through the creation and maintenance of educational institutions and societies can ensure not just the survival of human beings, but also the continuation of their culture.