The Historiographic Perversion

Marc Nichanian. Translated by Gil Anidjar

Columbia University Press

The Historiographic Perversion

Pub Date: September 2009

ISBN: 9780231149082

216 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $50.00£42.00

Pub Date: September 2009

ISBN: 9780231521628

216 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $49.99£42.00

The Historiographic Perversion

Marc Nichanian. Translated by Gil Anidjar

Columbia University Press

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—and are now being—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.
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
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

About the Author

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 témoignage, 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.