New book: Ümit Kurt « The Armenians of Aintab. The Economics of genocide in an Ottoman Province » Harvard University Press, 2021
Ümit Kurt is Polonsky Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and an Australian Research Council Fellow. He is author of several books in Turkish and English, including The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide.
« Kurt digs into the details of the Armenian dispossession that produced the homogeneously Turkish city in which he grew up. In particular, he examines the population that gained from ethnic cleansing. Records of land confiscation and population transfer demonstrate just how much new wealth became available when the prosperous Armenians—who were active in manufacturing, agricultural production, and trade—were ejected. Although the official rationale for the removal of the Armenians was that the group posed a threat of rebellion, Kurt shows that the prospect of material gain was a key motivator of support for the Armenian genocide among the local Muslim gentry and the Turkish public. Those who benefited most—provincial elites, wealthy landowners, state officials, and merchants who accumulated Armenian capital—in turn financed the nationalist movement that brought the modern Turkish republic into being. The economic elite of Aintab was thus reconstituted along both ethnic and political lines. »
Ümit Kurt is an historian of the late Ottoman Empire with a particular focus on the transformations of the imperial structures and their role in constituting the republican regime. Moreover, his research and teaching are grounded on theories of state and class, social identity and ethnicity. He completed his dissertation in the Department of History at Clark University. Since then, he has been helding a number of postdoctoral positions in Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University and Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno. Currently, he is a research Fellow at Polonsky Academy in the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute with a teaching appointment in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at the University of Tel Aviv. He is also Vice Executive Secretary of International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS).
Supervisors: Taner Akçam, Hans-Lukas Kieser, Richard Hovannissian, Cemal Kafadar et William Granara