Monday, June 25, 2007

"Authors, Artists & Friends" Series

A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility

Taner Akcam is widely recognized as one of the first Turkish scholars to write extensively and authoritatively on the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in the early 20th century. He is giving a free lecture and book signing at the Pacific Park Branch Library, 501 South Pacific Avenue on Saturday, June 30, 7 pm.

In 1915, under the cover of a world war, some one million Armenians were killed through starvation, forced marches, forced exile, and mass acts of slaughter. Although Armenians and world opinion have held the Ottoman powers responsible, Turkey has consistently rejected any claim of intentional genocide.

The first scholar of any nationality to have mined the significant evidence in Turkish military and court records, parliamentary minutes, letters, and eyewitness accounts Ak├žam follows the chain of events leading up to the killing and then reconstructs its systematic orchestration by coordinated departments of the Ottoman state, the ruling political parties, and the military. He also probes the crucial question of how Turkey succeeded in evading responsibility, pointing to competing international interests in the region, the priorities of Turkish nationalists, and the international community's inadequate attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sociologist and historian Taner Akcam teaches at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. Akcam grew up in Turkey, where he was imprisoned for editing a political publication and adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 1976. Akcam later received political asylum in Germany, where he earned a PhD from the University of Hannover and worked with the Hamburg Institute for Social Research on issues concerning the history of violence and torture in Turkey. He is the author of ten scholarly works of history and sociology, as well as numerous articles in Turkish, German, and English. His latest book, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility can be checked out at the library.

RSVPs are highly recommended by calling 626.744.1177 ext 23 or online at

This lecture is presented by Facing History and Ourselves, and is cosponsored by the Glendale Public Library, Friends of the Glendale Public Library and Glendale Parks, Recreation and Community Services.

About Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development and lessons of the Holocaust and other examples of collective violence and genocide, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives. Facing History reaches 1.6 million students worldwide each year.

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