The Politics of Armenian Migration to North America

Episode 433

hosted by Sam Dolbee

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Beginning in the 1880s, thousands of Ottoman Armenians left the Harput region bound for places all around the world. The Ottoman state viewed these migrants as threats, both for their feared political connections and their possession of foreign legal protections. In this episode, David Gutman discusses the smuggling networks that emerged in response to these legal restrictions, as well as the evolving understandings of citizenship they entailed. Restrictions on movement were repealed after the Constitutional Revolution in 1908, but the respite from control of motion would be short-lived for Harput's Armenians, many of whom were killed in the genocide of 1915.

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Contributor Bios
David Gutman is an associate professor at Manhattanville College. His new book is called The Politics of Armenian Migration to North America, 1885-1915.
Sam Dolbee is a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University. His research is on the environmental history of the Jazira region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.


Episode No. 433
Release Date: 13 November 2019
Recording Location: Ossining, NY
Audio editing by Sam Dolbee
Music: Zé Trigueiros, "Shetland Chords" and "Sombra"
Images and bibliography courtesy of David Gutman


The row houses of the Fabrikatorian brothers, c/o KS Melikian Collection at the Library of Congress
Beşkardeşler Pasajı, present-day Elazığ, c/o Google Maps

Select Bibliography

Andersson, Ruben. Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2014).

Fahrenthold, Stacy. Between the Ottomans and the Entente: The First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora, 1908-1925. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Gutman, David. “Ottoman Historiography and the End of the Genocide Taboo: Writing the Armenian Genocide into Late Ottoman Historiography.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association. Vol. 2, No. 1 (2015), 167-183

Hester, Torrie. Deportation: The Origins of U.S. Policy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)

Kaprielian, Isabel. “Migratory Caravans: Armenian Sojourners in Canada.” Journal of American Ethnic History, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring, 1987), 20-38.

Khater, Akram Fouad. Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870-1920. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

Lew-Williams, Beth. The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).

Mirak, Robert. Torn Between Two Lands: Armenians in America, 1890 to World War I. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983).

Quataert, Donald. “The Massacres of Ottoman Armenians and the Writing of Ottoman History.” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2006), 249-59.

Weil, Patrick. The Sovereign Citizen: Denaturalization and the Origins of the American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)


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