60. Portraits of Unbelonging: Special Crossover with Ottoman History Podcast


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The Ottoman archives contain just over a hundred photographs that look like old family portraits, but they were created for an entirely different purpose. They document the renunciation of Ottoman nationality, "terk-i tabiiyet," by Armenian emigrants bound for the US and elsewhere. As our guest Zeynep Devrim Gürsel explains, the photographs were "anticipatory arrest warrants for a crime yet to be committed"--the crime of returning to the Ottoman Empire. Gürsel's research goes far beyond the story of the small number of photographs that remain as she has documented over four thousand individuals who went through the process of "terk-i tabiiyet." In this Ottoman History Podcast-AnthroPod collaboration, we talk to Gürsel about her research project on the production, circulation and afterlives of these photographs titled "Portraits of Unbelonging." It is a double-sided history that explores not only the context of Armenian migration and policing during the late Ottoman period but also the experiences of those pictured and their descendants following their departure from the Ottoman Empire. (Recorded August 2019) In memory of Mary Lou Savage (née Khantamour) Contributors: Beth Derderian (AnthroPod), Zeynep Devrim Gürsel (Rutgers University), and Chris Gratien (Ottoman History Podcast).

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