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Volume 23

War and Genocide

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The Making of the Greek Genocide

Contested Memories of the Ottoman Greek Catastrophe

Erik Sjöberg

266 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-325-5 $110.00/£78.00 Hb Published (November 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-326-2 eBook

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“The concluding section, like the chapters that precede it, is meticulous and systematically argued and it summarizes all the findings presented in each chapter. Right at the end Sjöberg allows for a glimmer of optimism and notes that irrespective of whether future research will confirm or dismiss the claims that the Ottoman Greeks experienced a genocide, the dynamics that campaign unleashed may in fact lead away from its explicit ethnocentrism. It is too early to tell, as the controversy continues and more research is required. But the ongoing debates among activists and academics will benefit enormously from Sjöberg’s outstanding scholarly analysis.” · Journal of Social History

“Erik Sjöberg has written a dense, varied, and admirable book…a thoughtful, well-written, and original contribution to the scholarship on the politics of memory in the aftermath of mass violence. Sjöberg treats themes as wide-ranging as cultural trauma, diaspora politics, ideology, national identity, etc. His breadth of reading and use of Greek-language sources and critical treatment of the different positions in the (often polarized) debates add significantly to the quality of the book…One can only hope that future publications on the Ottoman Greek catastrophe take Sjöberg’s arguments seriously.” · Hungarian Historical Review

“Sjöberg maintains a sober balance between respect for the reality of historical trauma and critical interrogation of historians’ and activists’ methods. This is an excellent study that also offers insightful analysis into how new transnational memory cultures have emerged since the 1980s.” · Hans-Lukas Kieser, University of Zurich


During and after World War I, over one million Ottoman Greeks were expelled from Turkey, a watershed moment in Greek history that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. And while few dispute the expulsion’s tragic scope, it remains the subject of fierce controversy, as activists have fought for international recognition of an atrocity they consider comparable to the Armenian genocide. This book provides a much-needed analysis of the Greek genocide as cultural trauma. Neither taking the genocide narrative for granted nor dismissing it outright, Erik Sjöberg instead recounts how it emerged as a meaningful but contested collective memory with both nationalist and cosmopolitan dimensions.

Erik Sjöberg is a senior lecturer of history at Södertörn University, Stockholm. He has previously held positions at Stanford University, Umeå University, and Mid Sweden University.

Subject: Genocide Studies 20th Century History
Area: Southern Europe



Introduction: Cosmopolitan memory and the Greek genocide narrative

Chapter 1. Ottoman twilight: The background in Anatolia
Chapter 2. “Right to Memory”: From Catastrophe to the politics of identity
Chapter 3. Nationalizing genocide: The recognition process in Greece
Chapter 4. The pain of Others: Empathy and the problematic comparison
Chapter 5. Becoming cosmopolitan: The Americanized genocide
Chapter 6. “Three genocides, one recognition”: The “Christian Holocaust”



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