Keyman Annual Conference on Turkey

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From: Keyman Modern Turkish Studies <>

Keyman Annual Conference on Turkey

The Afterlives of Lausanne: Society, Politics, and Belonging after Empire

May 26-27, 2023 

 Each year, the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program brings together scholars from around the world to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing Turkey from a global perspective. This year the conference’s theme will be the Lausanne Conference and Treaty of July 24, 1923.
Lausanne was unique among the peace treaties that the victors of WWI settled with those states that would replace the defeated German, Habsburg, and Ottoman Empires: it reversed the Sèvres Treaty that had already been signed between the Allies and the Ottoman
government on August 10, 1920. The Sèvres Treaty, which would have ceded much of the territory of the former Ottoman Empire to France, Britain, Italy, and Greece; created occupation zones around the Straits; and carved out Armenian and Kurdish territories, was
never ratified. The Turkish nationalist resistance movement in Asia Minor was successful in negotiating a new peace agreement, and thus the Lausanne Treaty placed Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor under Turkish sovereignty.

Hence, Lausanne is considered a testament to the tenaciousness of the Turkish national resistance movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and has been called the “birth certificate” of the Turkish Republic. However, its “evil twin,” the Sèvres Treaty has
played an equally formative role in the development of Turkish national identity and identity politics. The memory of this abrogated agreement has conjured in popular belief in Turkey a condition known as the “the Sèvres Syndrome,” referring to a conviction in various theories
about seditious “external forces” [dıṣ mihraklar] attempting to revive the treaty and weaken or carve up the republic. As the centenary of Lausanne approaches, however, the Sèvres Syndrome” has been eclipsed by, or rather subsumed under, new conspiracy theories about the
so-called &quot;secret articles&quot; of Lausanne that hinder Turkey&#39;s extraction of oil and other precious resources, showcasing the centrality of the material world to the configuration of political narratives and imaginaries. The Treaty has also become politicized through top-down discourses even as these conspiracy theories are adopted, circulated, and mobilized by ordinary people in everyday life. The inspiration and some of the raw material mirror the rhetoric used by the highest representatives of the AKP regime to discredit the legacy of Kemalism. They
include the president who insinuates that Lausanne was more a capitulation than a victory that ceded territories that should have remained part of the Turkish Republic, if not a revived Ottoman Empire.

While acknowledging the historical significance of the Lausanne Treaty’s unique position among post-WWI settlements in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, this conference seeks to analyze the conditions that made its conclusion possible and reconsider its aftermath up to the
present day. The ethnic cleansing and demographic engineering of Anatolia started in the aftermath of the Congress of Berlin through the strategic settlement of Muslim refugees in areas where they would dilute the numbers of Christians and later be recruited to participate in
massacres against the same. This process reached its peak during WWI under the genocidal regime of the Committee of Union and Progress. The internationally-sanctioned principle of the “unmixing” of peoples that tacitly endorsed the outcomes of such policies in the aftermath
of the war, and the subsequent emergence of minority regimes in southeastern and eastern Europe and the Middle East have lately been analyzed by political scientists and anthropologists as well as historians. While we aim to further these discussions, we also seek to carry out an
interdisciplinary analysis by bringing together various perspectives - from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, political theory, and political economy - to consider the complex and enduring legacies of the Lausanne Treaty in contemporary Turkey and beyond.
We, therefore, invite presentations that reflect on the manifold ways in which the Lausanne Treaty continues to shape the current social and political life and figures into imaginations of the future.  Some of the themes and their intersections that we aim to examine
within this purview are—but not limited to: 

* Legacies of nation-building policies in the aftermath of WWI
*Deliberations during the Lausanne conference and their particular areas of focus such as minority protections and population exchanges
*Imperialism and the shaping of political landscapes in the post-Ottoman domains 
*Reconstruction and (re)narrative of diplomatic history in official discourse and popular culture
*The interplay between conspiracy theories and national identity construction
*Political Islamists’ efforts to rewrite official history and replace the origin myths of the Turkish nation

Application details:
The Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program will provide hotel accommodation (up to 3 nights) for participants and offer subsidies for travel expenses. To apply, please send a 150-word abstract of your paper; a proposal of not more than 700 words; and your current CV to by March 1, 2023.
Please name your files SurnameName_Abstract, SurnameName_Proposal, and
SurnameName_CV, and include “Keyman Conference” in the subject line.

Categories: CFP
Keywords: Keyman Program, CFP