The diverse geographies, backgrounds, and disciplines of both panelists and attendees engendered dynamic and transformative discussions throughout the day. By the afternoon, the room filled to full capacity. The exciting conference program drew an audience of students, faculty, and community members from UIUC and even other Illinois institutions. Attendees actively participated in post-panel discussions, which further facilitated an interdisciplinary atmosphere and opened spaces to think more critically about memory work and its itinerary across borders and generations. Ultimately, Spaces of Remembering the Armenian Genocide demonstrated that collective memory remains a vital source of inspiration for ongoing struggles for justice.
Such opportunities will help us further actualize what HGMS, FTMS, and The Program in Jewish Culture and Society have previously set into motion for us and countless others. That is, an awareness of how a thick understanding of the past can inform how we witness, engage, and respond to contemporaneous acts of mass violence, displacement, and migration and how we address related questions about history-writing processes, remembering, forgetting, and denial, and the securement of social justice for different peoples who resist erasure.
Article Author Bios:
Helen Makhdoumian received a BA in English with an Art minor from Westminster College and an MA in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is also pursuing her PhD through English and HGMS. She works comparatively on Armenian American, Arab American, and American Indian literatures and focuses on representations of collective violence and trauma, memory, and migration. Helen co-organizes the Future of Trauma and Memory Studies reading group and has published in Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL).