Zoryan Institute Hosts Webinar on “Absent(ed) Presence”: Exploring Lost Heritage of Ancestral Land

19 Jan 2024

January 19th, 2024: The Zoryan Institute is pleased to announce its upcoming webinar, Dr. Aysenur Korkmaz “Absent(ed) Presence”: Exploring Lost Heritage of Ancestral Land. This event is an exploration into the lasting impact of the Armenian Genocide on the cultural heritage of Ottoman Armenians. Taking place on February 15th, 2024 at 1PM EST, this webinar will provide a thought-provoking discussion on the transformation of heritage sites, “evoking a range of emotions and challenging perceptions about the future of the “lost homeland.”

The genocide that engulfed the lives of Ottoman Armenians in 1915-16 also left traces on their cultural heritage. After being subjected to cycles of state-sponsored destruction, confiscation, and architectural alteration, Armenian heritage sites have lost their shapes and become relics of their former selves. Today, these sites constitute the physical setting for Armenian roots tourism in eastern Turkey, the ancestral heritage tours that the descendants of genocide survivors from Armenia and the diaspora undertake. This talk explores how these material spaces shape the descendants’ experience of their ancestral homeland. What affordances and agencies do they have to tell a story, emit meaning, and elicit emotions in visitors? Conversely, what meanings and signification do the descendants bring to these sites?


Ayşenur Korkmaz is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam (NIAS). She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, European Studies. Her work focuses on the multifaceted aftereffects of the Armenian genocide in Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia. At the crossroads of history and anthropology, she explores how the genocide survivors and their descendants in Armenia have been reflecting on the violent past, losses, and expulsion from the ancestral homeland (Ergir). Korkmaz published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the Hamidian Massacres, the Armenian genocide, post-genocide memories in Soviet Armenia, and Armenian roots tourism in eastern Turkey.

Korkmaz is a graduate of Zoryan Institute’s Genocide and Human Rights University Program (GHRUP) and longtime friend of the Institute.

The Zoryan Institute invites individuals, scholars, and those interested in exploring lost heritage of ancestral homeland to join this insightful webinar.