The Social Science Research Network has selected Professor Mark Movsesian’s essay, “Elusive Equality: The Armenian Genocide and the Failure of Ottoman Legal Reform,” as one of its Weekly Top Five Papers this week. The SSRN archive contains approximately 425,000 papers from scholars around the world; roughly 66,000 are added each year.
Professor Movsesian, who is also the director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s, told SSRN:
I wrote this essay for a symposium on legal issues surrounding the Armenian Genocide of 1915. In part, it is an essay in legal history. It describes how reforms in Ottoman law, designed to benefit religious minorities like Armenian Christians, perversely led to a backlash against those very minorities.
The essay also contributes to the emerging field of comparative law and religion. Comparative L&R explores how different legal regimes reflect, and influence, the relationships religious communities have with the state and with each other. Here, I discuss the treatment of Christians in classical Islamic law and show why the transition to a secular, egalitarian regime proved so difficult and had such dire consequences for vulnerable communities.
You can download the paper here.