ISSUE 3: CREATIVE RESISTANCE | NOVEMBER 2022 | | Kayseri Conference proceedings book is published!

Kayseri Conference proceedings book is published!

Recounting the multicultural past of Kayseri as well as the transformations that the city went through during the years 1850–1950 through a multidisciplinary approach, the proceedings book of the conference on ‘The Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and The Region’ has been published.

View of Erciyes Mountain from Kayseri, 1912 || Photo: Alden R. Hoover || American Board Pamphlet Collection

The ‘Proceedings Book’ of the conference on ‘The Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and The Region’ was published on October 2022. The book is based on the conference of Hrant Dink Foundation (HDF), which was planned to hold on 18 and 19 October 2019, with the presentations of academics from both Turkey and abroad, but cancelled due to official bans. Through academic articles, the book examines various aspects of the social, economic, cultural, urban, and architectural ruptures that Kayseri and the region went through during 1850–1950 and provides a case study and summary of the social transformations that happened in Turkey before and after the Republic.

The academic conference planned by Hrant Dink Foundation was supposed to take place on 18 and 19 October 2019 in Kayseri, but it was banned by the Governorship of Kayseri because it was deemed ‘inappropriate’. Following the ban, the Foundation’s Board of Directors decided to hold the conference on the same dates in Istanbul, at the Havak Hall of the Foundation’s Anarad Hığutyun Building. After all the arrangements were made, it was cancelled yet again the day before it was supposed to happen, on 17 October 2019 at 17.08, by a notice from the District Governorship of Şişli, Istanbul.

The Kayseri Conference was supposed to be a continuation to the series of academic conferences that the Foundation had previously organised on Adana, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Ankara, and İzmir. The plan was to present the Foundation’s earlier project and 2016 publication on Kayseri’s cultural heritage, which was supported by the European Union and the Turkish Ministry of European Affairs at the conference, and to share academic works that elaborate Kayseri’s multicultural past from a multidisciplinary perspective with the academic world. The proceedings and presentations had been selected by an international scientific committee specifically formed for the conference, and accordingly, there were going to be academic presentations by 27 different scholars from the US, France, Greece, and Armenia, as well as from different cities of Turkey. After the sessions, the guests would have had a first-hand chance to experience the rich history of Kayseri with a cultural heritage tour.

Unfortunately some participants have decided not to present the final drafts of their papers due to the dejection caused by the restrictions. However, the Proceedings Book sheds light on the multi-dimensional and multi-layered economic, social, cultural, and demographic changes in Kayseri and the region during 1850–1950 through various sources, such as personal diaries, religious registries, family archives, and statistical documents. The introduction of the book was written by Prof. Ayhan Aktar, a lecturer at the Institute of Social Sciences of Istanbul Bilgi University. Edited by Altuğ Yılmaz, the book features various social transformations that happened in Kayseri and the region before and after the foundation of the Republic by many academics and researchers such as Alexis Alexandris, Suavi Aydın, Anna Ohannessian-Charpin, Yaşar Tolga Cora, Alperen Coşkuner, Eyüp Ensar Dal, Özge Ertem, Hilmar Kaiser, İhsan Seddar Kaynar, Varak Ketsemanian, Elçin Macar, Zakarya Mildanoğlu, Tom Papademetriou, İhsan Seddar, Seval Şahin, Şehnaz Şişmanoğlu Şimşek, and Önder Uçar.