Throughout Southeast Europe and the Middle East, many former spaces of interaction are now sites of past violence and are marked by the absence of groups who had once lived there. Post-Ottoman spaces are today palimpsests of the social memory of violence, where persons attempt to live together under the shadow of past coexistence and the conflict that rended it. The chapters in this volume address legacies of conflict and attempts to live together today.
In an extended introduction to the volume, I argue that the anthropology and history of the region would benefit from greater conceptual engagement with theories of sovereignty and everyday diplomacy in its studies of everyday interactions involving the proximity of persons understood to be different. I argue there that the practices of everyday coexistence constitute a “labor of peace,” a term that emphasizes agonism rather than antagonism, and accommodation rather than amity..
The politics of memory in Cyprus
The island of Cyprus has been bitterly divided for more than four decades. One of the most divisive elements of the Cyprus conflict is the writing of its history, a history called on by both communities to justify and explain their own notions of justice. While for Greek Cypriots the history of Cyprus begins with ancient Greece, for the Turkish Cypriot community the history of the island begins with the Ottoman conquest of 1571. The singular narratives both sides often employ to tell the story of the island are, as this volume argues, a means of continuing the battle which has torn the island apart, and an obstacle to resolution. Cyprus and the Politics of Memory re-orientates history-writing on Cyprus from a tool of division to a form of dialogue, and explores a way forward for the future of conflict resolution in the region.
The Cyprus Critical History Archive
"The primary goal and aim of the Archive is to collect and catalogue all available information on intercommunal relations and conflict-related violence in Cyprus, and to make this information available to researchers and to the public. The initiave was launched in recognition of the fact that there is currently no single source to which researchers from either side of the island may turn for comprehensive, multi-lingual information about the history of the conflict. To fill this need, CCHA has collected a vast amount of written and oral materials documenting past crimes and violations (approximately 30,000-35,000), translated most of these and made them available them in an online database. Currently, the Cyprus Critical History Archive covers the period 1955-1964, and it is about to complete the process of digitizing and cataloguing the thousands of articles that were gathered by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot newspapers of the island. The online database was launched for public use in February 2013."
-Nikos Christofis, Dissertation Reviews