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Ruins, treasures, and memories of state violence in eastern Anatolia – Dr Anoush Suni
Episode 29th November 2021 • Religion and Global Challenges • Cambridge Interfaith Programme
00:00:00 00:41:57

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For the second episode of our mini-series on Living with Religious Difference, I talked to Dr Anoush Suni (Northwestern University) about her research on the reverberations of the historic Armenian presence in the lives of contemporary Kurdish communities in eastern Anatolia. Together we explore how the memory of the Armenian past lives on within Kurdish communities, how legacies of state violence materialize in ruins and treasures, and we discuss how Armenian religious sites take on new meaning within Kurdish life worlds.

Music: Balık by Collectif Medz Bazar (with special thanks)


Anoush Tamar Suni is currently the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. Previously, she was a Manoogian Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Armenian Studies Program and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She earned her PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019. For her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Palimpsests of Violence: Ruination and the Politics of Memory in Anatolia,” she spent over two years (2015-2017) in the region of Van, in southeastern Turkey, conducting ethnographic research. She is currently working on her book project, which investigates questions of memory and the material legacies of state violence in the region of Van with a focus on the historic Armenian and contemporary Kurdish communities. Her research interests include state and intercommunal violence, memory, materiality and landscape, cultural heritage, space and place, and political and historical anthropology in Turkey, Armenia, Kurdistan, and the broader Middle East.


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  • Darici, Haydar. 2011. “Politics of Privacy: Forced Migration and the Spatial Struggle of the Kurdish Youth.” Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 13 (4): 457–74.
  • Leupold, David. 2020. Embattled Dreamlands: The Politics of Contesting Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish Memory. New York: Routledge.
  • Navaro, Yael. 2020. “The Aftermath of Mass Violence: A Negative Methodology.” Annual Review of Anthropology 49 (1): 161–73. 
  • Parla, Ayşe, and Ceren Özgül. 2016. “Property, Dispossession, and Citizenship in Turkey; or, The History of the Gezi Uprising Starts in the Surp Hagop Armenian Cemetery.” Public Culture 28 (3 80): 617–53.
  • Tambar, Kabir. 2016. “Brotherhood in Dispossession: State Violence and the Ethics of Expectation in Turkey.” Cultural Anthropology 31 (1): 30–55. 
  • von Bieberstein, Alice. 2017. “Treasure/Fetish/Gift: Hunting for ‘Armenian Gold’ in Post-Genocide Turkish Kurdistan.” Subjectivity 10 (2): 170–89.