"In Search for Trees and Treasures"

Lecture Series "Telling Times: Memories of Culture, Cultures of Memory"

  • Date: May 23, 2018
  • Time: 14:30 - 16:00
  • Speaker: Alice von Bieberstein (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin)
  • Alice von Bieberstein is a social anthropologist and EURIAS-fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Germany. Her research has focused on the politics of history and citizenship in relation to minority subjectivity in Germany and Turkey. Her more recent project is on local engagements with and value extraction from the material remains of Armenian heritage in far-Eastern Turkey. Her work has appeared in various journals, including Subjectivity, Social Research, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 12, Göttingen
  • Room: Conference Room
"In Search for Trees and Treasures"

For more details please contact cziesielsky(at)mmg.mpg.de.

Especially during a period of relative liberalisation with regards to discussions on the Armenian genocide within the Turkish public sphere, journeys of Armenians from the diaspora and from the Republic of Armenia through Eastern Anatolia/Western Armenia became easier and therefore also more frequent. I engage ethnographically with the spirit and affective charge of these journeys to reflect on how different sites and objects come to mediate people’s relation to the history of the land. I will juxtapose these with the practice and passion of ‘hunting’ for ‘Armenian’ treasures, very widespread among the (mostly Kurdish) local population. Both treasure-hunters and the descendants of survivors (not mutually exclusive identities) scour the landscape in search for materials and objects whose existence is often elusive, indeed erratic. In both cases, death and loss underlie people’s investment in and yearning for the materials and objects in question. And yet, the original violence draws a split that separates and leads to very different moral and political economies around these objects of desire.

Go to Editor View