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Genocide is a matter of law. It is also a matter of history. Engaging some of the most disturbing responses to the Armenian genocide, Marc Nichanian strikingly reveals the complex role played by law and history in making this and other genocides endure as contentious events.
Nichanian's book argues that both law and history fail to contend with the very nature of events for which there is no archive (no documents, no witnesses). Both history and law fail to address the modern reality that events can be& mdash;and are now being& mdash;perpetrated that "depend" upon the destruction of the archive, turning monstrous deeds into nonevents. Genocide, this book makes us see, is in one sense the "destruction" of the archive. It relies on the historiographic perversion.
Introduction: The Names and the Archive 1. The Law and the Fact: The 1994 Campaign 2. Between Amputation and Imputation 3. Refutation 4. Testimony: From Document to Monument Conclusion: Shame and Testimony Against History, by Gil Anidjar Notes Index
Marc Nichanian provides an important qualification to the Holocaust discourse. He dismantles cliches and commonplaces with aplomb and startling pertinence and, in the process, he makes significant proposals for revising our thought about extreme events. -- Hayden White, professor of historical studies, emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz
Marc Nichanian is a philosopher and literary critic who has taught in the United States, France, Italy, Turkey, and Armenia. He is the author of a history of the Armenian language and of a multivolume study of modern Armenian literature entitled Entre l'art et le temoignage, volume 1 of which, Writers of Disaster (The National Revolution) appeared in English in 2002. He is also the editor of Gam: A Journal of Analysis (written in Armenian). Six volumes were published between 1980 and 2005. Gil Anidjar teaches in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and in the Department of Religion at Columbia University.
I have no doubt Marc Nichanian's book will gain a wide, even popular, audience. It is a philosophical book, but it also constitutes a very personal, emotional plea for the pursuit of thinking on questions that are ever more crucial. -- Avital Ronell, professor of German, comparative literature, and English, New York University A powerful and personal book, it displays, through its evocative brilliance and discipline of logic, Nichanian's long-lasting engagement with the significance and context of the Armenian genocide. -- Piotr A. Cieplak Times Higher Education