[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)