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Elyse Semerdjian


Quick Thoughts: Elyse Semerdjian on Standing Rock

[A person protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline holds a sign reading

[On 4 December 2016, the operators of the North Dakota Access Pipeline were informed they no longer had permission to pursue construction plans under Lake Oahe, the main water source of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The announcement crowned many months of activism led by the inhabitants of Standing Rock, and which garnered growing support and solidarity across the United States and indeed worldwide. Jadaliyya turned to Elyse Semerdjian, currently a visiting ...

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#SaveKessab, #Save Aleppo, and Kim Kardashian: Syria’s Rashomon Effect

[Kessab Armenians attend mass after arrival in Latakia]

A historic Christian Armenian town situated just a mile from the Turkish border in northwest Syria, Kessab is now among the war’s many casualties. On the morning of 21 March, the town was seized by opposition fighters from three Islamic militant groups: Jabhat al-Nusra, Sham al-Islam, and Ansar al-Sham. For Armenians around the world, the event conjured memories of past traumas as one of two remaining Armenian areas that survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 was ...

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Elyse Semerdjian


Elyse Semerdjian is a scholar of Syria and its Armenian community and is currently writing a book about the collective memory of the Armenian Genocide in Syria and Turkey. Specialized in the history of gender and religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire, she is author of “Off the Straight Path”: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo (Syracuse University Press:  2008). Currently a fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, Semerdjian is Associate Professor of Middle East History at Whitman College.