ABSTRACT. This essay focuses on the process of ‘rebuilding’ the Armenian nation in the newly constituted states of the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq) in the immediate aftermath of World War I. These efforts were centred on the two largest sectors of the population to have survived the Catastrophe, orphans and familyless (or widowed) women. The essay examines the ideology of ‘national reconstruction’ and some of its internal contradictions. It pays particular attention to both Armenian women who married Muslims during the deportations and the children born of these marriages, as well as to Armenians who turned to prostitution to survive in the complex conditions prevailing in this period. The author makes use of extensive, previously neglected archival material: for example, correspondence by some of the principal actors, reports written during the process of locating and rounding up Armenian orphans, and documents that shed light on life within the walls of orphanages and women's shelters. The author assembled this archival material in Paris, Beirut, Aleppo, and Cairo, after surveying the contents of various archives.
Nations and Nationalism – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2009
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