Vol 37 (2017): Special issue: Generations and Memory: Continuity and Change

Postmemory of the Armenian Genocide: A Comparative Study of the 4th Generation in Turkey and Armenia

Derya Fırat
Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
Barış Şannan
Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
Öndercan Muti
Humboldt University of Berlin
Öykü Gürpınar
Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales
Fatma Özkaya
Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts
Published March 31, 2017


Using the data from field research in Turkey and Armenia, this article examines the meaning of the Armenian Genocide for young Armenians. Based on 60 in- depth interviews, the analysis focuses on how the 4th generation affected by the crimes of 1915 remembers this crucial time, how familial memory has been transmitted, how this inherited memory affects them on daily basis, both emotionally and politically, and how they commemorate the event, which they know as Medz Yeghern (literally, the “Great Crime”). Inspired by Marianne Hirsch’s concept of postmemory, we have shown how patterns of remembrance are influenced by specific contexts in Armenia and Turkey, such as the generational formations in the two countries. Accordingly, we discuss how there is not a singular postmemory of the Genocide, so much as several distinctive patterns, experiences, transmissions, and commemorations that shape and reshape a multiplicity of postmemories. With this variety in mind, modest suggestions for a possible politics of peace are listed.