Dr. James Reid to Give Three Public Lectures about Armenian Genocide

FRESNO–Professor James Reid–Kazan Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies at Fresno State for the Spring 2006 semester–will be giving a series of three lectures during the semester–under the overarching theme of "The Inner Dimension of the Armenian Genocide."

The lectures will be held Tuesday–February 21; Wednesday–March 15; and Tuesday–April 25. All three lectures will begin at 7:30 PM in the Peters Auditorium of the University Business Center at Fresno State and are free and open to the public.

Reid will look at psychological aspects of the Genocide–citing personal writings and oral history interviews.

Lecture I will consider the effect of World War I on the human psyche with special reference–of course–to the creation of perpetrators in genocide. German examples will be given–including Rudolph Hoss who served in the Mesopotamian or Iraqi theater of war alongside Ottoman troops. Hoss later became the SS commandant of Auschwitz. The German examples will help demonstrate the mentality of the Ottoman’soldier and irregular and what created a perpetrator in the Ottoman army and special police forces. Ottoman Turkish memoirs will also be cited.

Lecture II will examine how the "Death World" created by war influenced the mentality of Armenian and Pontic Greek victims and survivors. The "Death World" was the individual’s and the community’s resignation to the belief that life would end soon and that all living was dominated by a killing and death environment. The psychological repercussions of accepting the dominance of the "Death World" were immense. The realization of the "Death World" as a power in one’s life represented the first and most powerful symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the individual. This lecture will cite survivor memoirs in comparison to other World War I writings.

Lecture III will examine other symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder in survivor writings. Studying these writings as a means of understanding PTSD in the writers is very difficult but necessary. Psychoanalysts have trouble in eliciting information from their living patients and usually have great difficulty in arriving at a complete picture. The problem of attaining a complete understanding of the individual’s post-traumatic state of mind is more difficult in memoirs or other personal writings left by deceased persons. The effort is immensely important–though–since much can be learned by such investigations–both for the history of the Armenian genocide and for the understanding of modern patients. In order to comprehend the absolute devastation of the Armenian genocide and accompanying events–it is imperative to make the effort to understand the human dimensions of this immense tragedy.

Reid holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. from UCLA and is the author of several books–including [Crisis of the Ottoman Empire: Prelude to Collapse–1839-1878]; [Studies in Safavid Mind Society and Culture]–2000; and [Tribalism and Society in Islamic Iran–1500-1629]–1983. He is currently writing a psychohistorical study of wars and massacres–which focuses on the Greco-Turkish War of 1897–the Armenian massacres of 1894-96–and the Balkan Wars of 1911-1913.

Professor Reid is a Tsakopoulos Hellenic Fellow. He was the director of the Vryonis Center from 2001-2003 and from 1991-2001 he was a senior research fellow at the Center. He has written extensively on the Ottoman Empire and modern Greece.

For more information on the course please contact the Armenian Studies Program at California State University–Fresno at (559)278-2669.

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