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viernes, 14 de octubre de 2011

Upcoming Conference on Armenian Genocide Reparations

Academic Conference to Discuss Restitution, Reparation
By: Weekly Staff

WORCESTER, Mass.—The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide
Studies at Clark University is sponsoring an interdisciplinary
conference, “Beyond the Armenian Genocide: The Question of Restitution
and Reparation in Comparative Review,” organized by Taner Akcam, the
Robert Aram ‘52 and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marion Mugar
Professor of Armenian Genocide Studies. The conference is presented in
partnership with the National Association for Armenian Studies and
Research (NAASR) and Eric Weitz, the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian
Professor at the University of Minnesota. NAASR’s participation is
supported by the Ethel Jafarian Duffett Fund.

The conference opens on Thurs., Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. with a public
keynote address in Tilton Hall on the Clark University campus. John
Torpey, a professor of sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY, will
give the opening address, “A Comparative Perspective on Reparations
for Historical Injustices.” Torpey is the author of Making Whole What
Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politic (Harvard University Press,
2006). “Reparations,” he says, “can be symbolic, such as apologies or
the creation of memorials and museums. They can also be economic, such
as financial compensation to individuals or collectivities, or
material redress, such as settlement of the land claims of indigenous
peoples. These measures can reflect cultural or legal claims to
reparations, or both.”

The conference continues throughout the day on Fri., Oct. 28, with a
series of panels for participants and invited guests. Leading scholars
will examine questions of post-conflict justice in a comparative
review of the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the Native
American Genocide. The participants will consider different aspects of
compensation, including the return of stolen art and artifacts; the
restitution of personal and communal property; and how post-war
agreements and treaties shape discussions about compensation. The
Holocaust case offers a model for restitution and reparation that has
achieved significant success, but also frustrating disappointments and
delays. The Native American case provides a valuable example of the
importance of pursuing justice at home and for all peoples.
Discussions about the Armenian case will consider why efforts to
secure compensation emerged so late and the influence of developments
in securing justice for victims of the Holocaust.

Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide has been an enduring goal
of Armenian communities at home and internationally. Yet, the
political, financial, and legal consequences that might emerge in the
wake of recognition have not been fully articulated. Recently,
scholars and lawyers have pursued concrete efforts to secure
reparation, restitution, and compensation; they are proceeding
independent of groups lobbying governments to acknowledge the
genocide. These initiatives demonstrate that the pursuit of justice
through financial means can progress without necessarily resolving the
complicated politics of genocide recognition.

Recent court cases against American and French insurance companies
have resulted in reparations and have given encouragement to newly
filed lawsuits in the U.S. These developments demonstrate that
financial redress for the Armenian community may be possible on a
broader scale. New lawsuits addressing theft of artifacts, properties,
and bank accounts have been filed against the Turkish government and
private Turkish companies. They seek compensation for both individual
and collective losses suffered during the genocide.

For more information, contact the Strassler Center for Holocaust and
Genocide Studies (508-793-889; 
chgs@clarku.edu) or NAASR
(617-489-1610; 
hq@naasr.org).

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