The Path in between. Story Telling of “Back then, the Coexistence” and “Now It Happens to Us”

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Eren YETKIN, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
This paper discusses the idealization of the past, times before the massacres and genocides, and historical analogies in the process of (analepsis) story telling during auto-biographical narrations. In these terms, it focuses on the Kurdish collective memory, questions the re-constructions of the Armenian Genocide and tackles the arguments made by the interviewees concerning different violent events happened in the past and / or conducted today. These phenomena, the anachronism and idealization, build an interrelation between events and point out a continuity, for example regarding violence exercised by the Turkish state apparatus against the Kurds, Genocide of Yazidis by ISIS in Iraq and the Armenian Genocide 1915. Alongside interrelated stories, this discursive field contains hegemonic and official nation-state representations in Turkey or dominant group narratives of Kurdish politics such as the reconciliation with the victims of genocide. Hence, a sphere of contested memories emerges within this context since the Kurdish young generations challenge the foundations of “settled” stories with their reflexive re-readings.

In these terms, I ask how such memory regimes regarding the violence, experienced or told, appear in biographical narrations, how its mnemonic processes are connected to each other as well as to the biography and what can and would be silenced in this context. I discuss these issues based on Kurdish auto-biographical accounts from Van and Istanbul in a comparative perspective.