The Workshop for Armenian/Turkish Scholarship (WATS)

The Workshop for Armenian/Turkish Scholarship 

The Workshop for Armenian/Turkish Scholarship (WATS) has been an ongoing effort on the part of a number of scholars—Armenian, Turkish and other—to investigate the causes, circumstances and consequences of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, overcoming the politics of recognition and denial.  Initiated by a group of faculty and graduate students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in recent years the organizing committee has consisted of Professors Muge Gocek (Sociology), Gerard Libaridian and Ronald Suny (History) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Over the last decade a group of scholars has managed to meet, discuss, present papers, and establish a shared historical record and rough consensus on interpretation of the tragedies of the last years of the Ottoman Empire.  The University of Michigan was host to the second meeting of WATS in 2002, the first having been held at the University of Chicago. A selection of the papers from the first seven workshops was published recently by Oxford University Press with the title “A Question of Genocide.”  

Continuing the series of workshops begun in 2000 the eighth meeting of WATS will convene in conjunction with the International Institute of Social History and the Center for Genocide Studies, Amsterdam. The theme for WATS VIII is:  “The Peoples of Empire:  The Millet System and the Last Years of the Ottoman Empire (19th and 20th Centuries).” The workshop will take place October 27-29, 2011 at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

The Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan will be co-sponsoring WATS VIII in recognition of the contributions of Armenian studies faculty who have been instrumental in the genesis and continuation of the project, a group which in addition to those mentioned above, includes Prof. Kevork Bardakjian. After more than a decade of leadership in this project, Professors Gocek, Libaridian and Suny have decided to transfer the project to a new team of scholars that will be formed by October 2011.