Perpetrator Studies Network


Collective Trauma and the Armenian Genocide: Armenian, Turkish, and Azerbaijani Relations since 1839

By Pamela Steiner.

In this pathbreaking study, Pamela Steiner deconstructs the psychological obstacles that have prevented peaceful settlements to longstanding issues.

The book re-examines more than 100 years of destructive ethno-religious relations among Armenians, Turks, and Azerbaijanis through the novel lens of collective trauma.

The author argues that a focus on embedded, transgenerational collective trauma is essential to achieving more trusting, productive, and stable relationships in this and similar contexts. The book takes a deep dive into history – analysing the traumatic events, examining and positing how they motivated the actions of key players (both victims and perpetrators), and revealing how profoundly these traumas continue to manifest today among the three peoples, stymying healing and inhibiting achievement of a basis for positive change.

The author then proposes a bold new approach to “conflict resolution” as a complement to other perspectives, such as power-based analyses and international human rights. Addressing the psychological core of the conflict, the author argues that a focus on embedded collective trauma is essential in this and similar arenas.

Pamela Steiner is a Senior Fellow with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health where she directs the Intercommunal Trust Building Project.