Migrations, Connections, and Perspectives: Anatolia and its Neighboring Regions in the 20th Century
May 30 – June 1, 2008
Sabancı University ? Istanbul
The initiative for a workshop series in memory of Hrant Dink under the general rubric of ?Frameworks of Diversity, Modalities of Interaction,? stemmed out of our belief in the urgent need for continued vigilance against discriminatory forces and tendencies in the context of Turkish nationalism. However, while not trivializing historical and contemporary experiences of conflict and violence, we hoped that the workshops would also provide much needed opportunities to explore untold or silenced stories as well as obscured structures of empathy, interaction, and interdependence. The workshop 2008 theme, ?Migrations, Connections, and Perspectives: Anatolia and Its Neighboring Regions in the Twentieth Century,? was selected to inaugurate our series both because of its interdisciplinary appeal and because of its elective affinities with the principles and objectives of the workshop which draws on Hrant Dink?s legacy of highlighting existing human connections and imagining new ones across presumed or imposed borders. As some boundaries, whether national or cultural, are crossed or removed, other boundaries are being redrawn and recreated. We hoped that the theme of ?Migrations, Connections, and Perspectives? would allow us to attend to these simultaneous and sometimes contradictory processes, as well as to advance a renewed appreciation of migration as a constant in social transformation in history.
As the workshop organizers, we believe that the workshop not only met these proposed objectives, but also exceeded our already high expectations. The quality of some presentations was remarkably high, and the ensuing discussions after each panel elicited multiple responses that led to productive interdisciplinary debates. The two public sessions that framed the academic workshop were also very successful in drawing an intimate but highly involved audience and in sparking dialogue among scholars and intellectuals from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. The fact that the participants of the workshop came from diverse geographies and disciplinary backgrounds resulted in exactly the kind of rich, challenging, stimulating scholarly and intellectual exchanges we had hoped for. In our call for papers, we had especially encouraged the participation of young scholars from Anatolia and its neighboring regions — geographies to which Hrant Dink was especially attached and committed. We were therefore pleased that the selected papers did indeed reflect that diversity: Participants came from Armenia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Uzbekistan and Turkey. There were, in total, 15 presenters. For each panel, we also invited scholars who have distinguished themselves as experts in their fields to act as chairs and discussants. Except for two people who had to cancel at the last minute due to personal reasons, all our invited chairs and discussants accepted our invitations without reservation and with enthusiasm. The final program hosted scholars from Bahçeşehir, Boğaziçi, Bilkent, Bilgi, Galatasaray, Koç, Marmara, and Sabancı Universities.
For the full program of the workshop and the academic report:
Ayşe Gül Altınay