“Call for Papers” : The Social, Cultural & Economic History of Van and the Region – November 11-12, 2016

Hrant Dink Foundation organizes an academic conference titled “The Social, Cultural and Economic History of Van and the Region” on November 11-12, 2016. This conference seeks to understand and analyse in detail the social, economic, and cultural transformations between 1850 and 1930 in Van and its environs and to promote and share the recent scholarly research on the subject within the academic community.

The social, cultural, and economic downturn, shifts, and transformations that began in the second half of the 19th century and continued through the first quarter of the 20th century are undergoing a process of discussion, understanding, and academic grounding. Much of the effort in this process tends to focus on the western provinces of the Ottoman Empire, while studies concerning the eastern provinces and Northern Mesopotamia which have remained within the borders of the Republic of Turkey are very few.

Although an increasing curiosity has replaced apathy regarding the agonizing transformations of these provinces, particularly throughout the dramatic and long last century of the Empire, Van and its surrounding region remain “forgotten.” The conference aims to encourage academic research on Van and its environs, which, on the one hand, is a border region connecting Persian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires and, on the other, can be described as the most important religious, political, and cultural center of the Ottoman Armenians apart from İstanbul. Van and the surrounding region constitute an example that has uniquely witnessed both the periods preceding and the aftermaths of the disasters in 1895 and 1915. As such, and also as a province that has experienced very profoundly the demographic, economic, and cultural collapse after the establishment of the republic, this region merits scholarly attention. Lastly, in addition to the relative dearth of official records, archival material and monographs on the region, the main reason for the limited number of academic studies on Van and its environs is the inevitable necessity to transcend the borders of the nation states in order to conduct research on this border region. Thus preference will be made to include studies that go beyond political borders, stand out with their interdisciplinary approach, and pave the way for comprehensive and critical discussions of the traumatic transformations that Van and the region have undergone between 1850 and 1930.

    Working languages of the conference will be Armenian, English, and Turkish. Simultaneous translation will be provided. The applications can be made in all three languages.

    Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes in order to make time for Q&A sessions and discussions.

    The conference will be broadcast live through the Hrant Dink Foundation website at

    Participants are kindly asked to inform us of their need for the coverage of their transportation and accommodation expenses if the latter will not be covered by their organizations.

    The meeting is organized with an interdisciplinary perspective. It is open to the participation of researchers working in the fields of history, economic history, anthropology/ cultural studies, sociology, political science, and demographics of Van and its region.

    The conference proceedings will be published by the Hrant Dink Foundation Publications.

    Researchers who would like to contribute to this conference with an original paper are asked to submit by June 30, 2016 a 250-word abstract including key sources, together with a 150-word biography including date of birth, undergraduate and graduate degrees, fields of study, publications and on-going research, to Karun Özçelik at: .

Scientific Committee

Ayhan Aktar (İstanbul Bilgi University)

Cengiz Aktar (Hrant Dink Foundation)

Ayşe Gül Altınay (Sabancı University)

Suavi Aydın (Hacettepe University)

Hamit Bozarslan (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)

Ahmet Demirel (Marmara University)

Ahmet İnsel (Hrant Dink Foundation)

Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University)

Raymond Kévorkian (Université de Paris VIII)

Dickran Kouymjian (California State University, Fresno)

Kerem Öktem (University of Graz)

Vahé Tachjian (Houshamadyan Project)

Yektan Türkyılmaz


Organizing Committee

Ayhan Aktar

Cengiz Aktar

Ayşe Gül Altınay

Sibel Asna

Delal Dink

Karun Özçelik