University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


"Hate in the Past Tense: Understanding the Origins of Armenian Genocide Denial as a Problem of Contemporary Reconciliation"

"Hate in the Past Tense: Understanding the Origins of Armenian Genocide Denial as a Problem of Contemporary Reconciliation"

Keith David Watenpaugh
Thursday, April 14
4:00 p.m.
Room 710 Social Science Building

watenpaughtie.jpg Dr. Watenpaugh will explore how aspects of Armenian Genocide denial first emerged around a discrete historical moment, in particular international humanitarian relief efforts on behalf of Armenian Genocide survivors in the early interwar period. Thinking about denial in this fashion creates a space in which to reflect critically about how history as both a discipline and practice operates in the spheres of power and public opinion, especially across political and cultural divides.

Understanding genocide denial in the early interwar period is more than just a step in correcting or confronting a mistake in the historical record, but rather constitutes a form of social history where the very crisis that caused denial brings into relief, to borrow a phrase from Michel Foucault, competing "regimes of truth" that are both a product of and central referent of ideological and religious doxa.

The added benefit of understanding Armenian Genocide denial at its earlier moments of articulation, especially where it intersects with the emerging humanitarian régime of the interwar period as a novel, though not unprecedented, style of historicism, is recognizing it as a manifestation of an ideology and a manufactured and reactive defense. This is not to say that the narratives of denial and narratives of acknowledgement are, due to their shared metahistorical implications equal in truth (or lack thereof) rather, each becomes more readily explained as a complex and understandable response to identifiable counter narratives and their underlying ideology.

In the end, seeing denial as less a reflection of a kind of unyielding and unchanging essential societal psychosis than a concerted act that has a contextual and historically bound basis suggest as well a possible path to reconciliation.

Professor Watenpaugh will also present "Hate in the Past Tense" in an abbreviated format at 7:00 p.m. at the St. Sahag Armenian Church 203 North Howell Street, St. Paul.

Co-Sponsored by: European Studies Consortium, Department of History, Human Rights Program, Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch, Cultural Studies & Comparitive Literature, and the Department of French and Italian.

Related Programs

CHGS Reading Discussion Group
"Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide"

by Richard G. Hovannisian
Facilitated by Keith David Watenpaugh
Thursday, April 14
12:00 p.m.
Room 201A, Wilson Library

Reservations are required and can be made via email at Please put RDG in the subject line and include your name, phone and email address in the body of the message, or phone at 612-624-0256.

Chapters available on line by visiting the CHGS Reading Discussion Group Blog.

"Finding the Lost: The League of Nations' Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Paradoxes of Modern Humanitarianism"
Keith David Watenpaugh

Friday, April 15
Room 1210 Heller Hall