[P4783] Humanitarianism in the Ottoman Empire during World War I

Created by Stacy Fahrenthold
Tuesday, 11/21/17 1:00pm


This panel brings together new scholarship on humanitarianism in World War I in Syrian and Armenian studies. Humanitarianism’s goal to meet the needs of displaced populations has been variously described as organized compassion, as an act of wartime resistance, as an extension of state power or sovereignty, and as an expansion of the role of private civil society. The panelists in this session consider humanitarian efforts in World War I from the perspectives of communities marked for relief: Middle Eastern refugees but also indigenous relief workers, religious institutions, and philanthropic societies linked to Syrian and Armenian diasporas. These papers address am emerging question within studies on humanitarianism: what are the historiographical possibilities for documenting relief work beyond international agencies like the Red Cross? What roles did Syrian, Armenian, or Ottoman aid workers play in meeting the needs of starving of displaced peoples? Can the refugee speak in the archives? The four panelists present case studies on Church relief work in Mount Lebanon, provisioning for Armenians at the Ottoman-Russian border, Armenian aid in the concentration camps of Aleppo, and Syrian émigré relief work in the Americas. These studies collectively demonstrate the complex role played by local actors in mediating the collection, provision, and disbursement of aid to displace communities often beyond the reach of international humanitarian agencies.


Society for Armenian Studies (SAS)






Barlow Der Mugrdechian

(California State University, Fresno)
Barlow Der Mugrdechian
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Melanie Tanielian

(University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Melanie S. Tanielian is assistant professor in the History Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She received her PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley, under the guidance of Prof. Beshara Doumani. Her dissertation,...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Stacy Fahrenthold

(California State University Stanislaus)
My research focuses on the migration of Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian Arabs from the Ottoman Empire in the twentieth century's first decades, and examines how Arab migrants impacted the politics of their homeland from abroad. My first book (forthcoming...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Asya Darbinyan

(Clark University)
Asya Darbinyan is a PhD Candidate at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University (Worcester, MA). Her dissertation explores the Russian Empire’s response to the Armenian Genocide and to the refugee crisis at the Caucasus...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Khatchig Mouradian

(Columbia University)
Khatchig Mouradian is the Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor at Columbia University. Previously, he served as the Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor at CSU Fresno (Fall 2016 Semester). In 2015-2016, Mouradian was a visiting assistant...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;