Marriage Law and Marriage Culture among Western Armenians, 1860-1908

Marriage Law and Marriage Culture among Western Armenians, 1860-1908

A lecture by Hasmik Khalapyan (American University of Armenia)

Thursday, March 08, 2018
6:30 PM
Room A18, Haines Hall

In 1894, under pressure to settle a divorce case, a member of the Ottoman Armenian National Assembly’s Religious Council stated in frustration, “Yes, but, for God’s sake, let this divorce be put off until the next election of the council. Let this not happen while we are serving as council members” (Hayrenik 1019: 1894). This reluctance had its roots in a number of factors, including the absence of a comprehensive marriage law between 1860 and 1908; the inability of Armenian authorities to reinforce legal decisions; the prevalence of communal law over new legal decrees; and the ever-changing cultural values that popular legal attitudes failed to address. This presentation offers an overview of the legal and cultural dimensions of marriage and family. It illustrates that the efforts to modernize the family and marriage evolved around two sets of power struggles: on the one hand, between clergy and lay people within the Armenian community; and, on the other, between the Armenian community and the Ottoman state. These struggles often transcended the issue of marriage itself.

Hasmik Khalapyan teaches Armenian history at the American University of Armenia. She is the academic director of AGBU Armenian Virtual College and editorial director of the college’s Multimedia E-Book Series. Her research interests include concepts and histories of social change in local and global perspectives; 19th- and 20th-century Ottoman history; global women’s movements in comparative perspective; theories and histories of empires and colonialism; and gender and international law. She has been published in international journals and edited volumes in English and has been translated into Turkish.

Cost : Free and open to the public

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, The Richard G. Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History