Der Matossian lecture on The Genocide thru Prism of Adana Massacres

Suite 310
Toronto, ON, Canada M3B 3H9
CONTACT: Patil Halajian
Tel: 416-250-9807
Fax: 416-512-1736
E-mail: [email protected]

CONTACT: Patil Halajian
DATE: February 26, 2010

Dr. Bedross Der Matossian lectures on the Armenian Genocide through the
Prism of the Adana Massacres

Toronto, Canada – The Zoryan Institute presented a lecture by Dr. Bedross
Der Matossian entitled `The Armenian Genocide through the Prism of the Adana
Massacres,’ held at the Toronto French School. In exploring the importance
of the events of 1909 to the understanding of the larger scope of violence
inflicted on the Armenian population, Dr. Der Matossian’s lecture dealt with
the Young Turk revolution of 1908, the counter-revolution, and the Adana
massacres of 1909, which became a turning point for the Armenians living in
the Ottoman Empire. Unlike the existing historiographies on the subject, Dr.
Der Matossian provided a new analysis of the massacres by examining the
erosion of social and political stability in Anatolia in general, and in
Adana in particular. The lecture explained the rising ethnic tensions in
Adana after the revolution and their culmination in the massacres, with
specific attention given to the role of media as a vehicle for the enactment
of violence against the vulnerable population.

`The study of ethnic strife, violence, and repression in the Ottoman Empire
in general, and in Anatolia in particular, remains marginalized in the
historiography of the Ottoman Empire. Only a handful of scholars have
attempted to put these subjects at the core of their inquiries. However,
most of these works concentrate on the Armenian Genocide during World War I,
and do not consider the incidents of violence prior to the War.’ With these
words, Dr. Bedross Der Matossian explains how the study of the Adana
Massacres has, unfortunately, often been neglected.

As Dr. Der Matossian expressed in his lecture, the Adana massacres of 1909
became a turning point for the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire and
were one of the earliest manifestations of violence during the Second
Constitutional Period 1908-1918. Furthermore, he stated that the massacres
represented a microcosm of the deterioration of ethnic conflict in Anatolia
and its culmination in the destruction of the indigenous Armenian population
during World War I.

`Understanding the factors and the motives that led to the enactment of
violence will shed new light on understanding the future acts of violence
perpetrated against the indigenous Armenian population of the Ottoman
Empire’ expressed Dr. Der Matossian. `I do not suggest that there is a
direct link between the Adana Massacres and the Armenian Genocide. Rather,
what I suggest is that the methodology used by the local and regional actors
to perpetrate the Adana massacres in 1908 is the same methodology that we
see during the Armenian Genocide in 1915,’ he concluded.

Dr. Der Matossian is a full-time lecturer in Middle East History at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and specializes in Ethnic Politics in
the Middle East. He completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University in Middle
East History in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and
Cultures. He is proficient in Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, modern and Ottoman
Turkish, and Ladino and is also familiar with French, and German. His
knowledge of languages has been instrumental in his research and has allowed
him to perform extensive work in historical archives from various countries.
Most recently he has curated the Stanley E. Kerr papers in the Zoryan
Institute archives. Dr. Kerr was an American medical missionary in Marash,
and is also the author of Lions of Marash, published in 1973. Kerr’s
personal papers, full of eyewitness information and analysis about the
politics and violence in the region, and over 80 photographs, along with a
detailed analytical catalogue prepared by Dr. Der Matossian are now freely
available on the Zoryan Institute’s website.

The Zoryan Institute is the first non-profit, international centre devoted
to the research and documentation of contemporary issues related to Armenian
social, political and cultural life. To this end, the Institute conducts
multidisciplinary research, publication, and educational programs dealing
with Armenia, the Armenian Genocide, and Diaspora, within a universal

You may also like