This lecture is part of the 2023 MCSI Speaker series: ‘Reparations, Apologies, and Restitution’
Description: Armenians have been subjected to two historical cases of genocide, the 1894-96 Massacres and the Genocide of Ottoman Christians of 1913-23. The second of these had especially devastating impacts on Armenians. The failure to repair has been the major obstacle to achievement of secure viability of the global Armenian community. This failure has included avoidance by Turkey of a rehabilitative process; quite the opposite, the ideological and structural forces driving the 1913-23 genocide became embedded in the political, military, economic, educational, cultural, and spiritual aspects of the Turkish state and society. As part of activization of Turkish genocidality in recent years, the eliminationist ideology has been exported to Azerbaijan, with its own history of mass violence against Armenians. The combination of the significant demographic, resource, identity, security, and social vulnerability of Armenians and the persistence of the impetus to genocide in Turkey and Azerbaijan became deadly in 2020. The eight-month-old blockade of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh has, in the words of some observers, turned the entire area into a concentration camp. This talk will examine the harms of genocide a century ago and demonstrate how those harms are central factors in the existential victimization of Armenians today. It will end on a somewhat more positive note, showing how the analysis given of the Armenian case actually supports the notion that genocide prevention can be accomplished to some extent at least through repair of past genocidal injuries.
Biography: HENRY C. THERIAULT is currently Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Worcester State University in the United States, after teaching in its Philosophy Department from 1998 to 2017. From 1999 to 2007, he coordinated the University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights. Theriault’s research focuses on genocide denial, genocide prevention, post-genocide victim-perpetrator relations, reparations, and mass violence against women and girls. He has lectured and appeared on panels around the world. Since 2007, he has chaired the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group and is lead author of its March 2015 final report, Resolution with Justice. He has published numerous journal articles and chapters, and his work has appeared in English, Spanish, Armenian, Turkish, Russian, French, and Polish. With Samuel Totten, he co-authored The United Nations Genocide Convention: An Introduction (University of Toronto Press, 2019). Theriault served two terms as President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), 2017-2019 and 2019-2021. He is founding co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Genocide Studies International. From 2007 to 2012 he served as co-editor of the International Association of Genocide Scholars’ peer-reviewed Genocide Studies and Prevention.