Denial of the Armenian genocide in American and French politics

Herron, Michael Francis (2013) Denial of the Armenian genocide in American and French politics. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The dissertation seeks to address three sets of questions: Why have the United States and France become involved in the issue of the Armenian genocide several decades after the genocide? How and why do the American and French debates have different outcomes? What conclusions can be drawn from these differences? It examines how the unresolved conflict between the competing Turkish narrative of denial and the Armenian narrative affirming the reality of the genocide has led the Armenian diaspora and the Turkish state to influence political actors in the United States and France to support their arguments for and against the reality of the genocide. This thesis focuses on the debates in the United States in 2007 and 2010 on a Congressional Resolution to recognise the genocide. It also traces the progress of French legislation from French official recognition of the genocide in 2001 to the passage of legislation to criminalise denial of the Armenian genocide in 2012, ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the French Constitutional Council. The contribution to knowledge this thesis makes is to demonstrate that recognition of genocide is a political question that involves more than the perpetrators and victims. Just as genocide does not only involve these two actors, recognition of genocide also involves other states and societies. Just as bystander states have to think about what they do when a genocide is being perpetrated when it comes to recognition they have to evaluate what to do, particularly when they have been involved from the outset.

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