Walter D. Love Prize 2015 awarded to Dr. Michelle Tusan for her Article

Dec. 8, 2015

Walter D. Love Prize 2015 (Presented by Durba Ghosh)

Awarded to Michelle Tusan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) for her article “‘Crimes against Humanity’: Human Rights, the British Empire and the Origins of the Response to the Armenian Genocide,” American Historical Review 119.1 (February 2014): pp. 47-77.

In this wide-ranging and erudite essay, Michelle Tusan examines British efforts to intervene into the Armenian genocide, the first “crime against humanity” of the twentieth century. Through a careful reconstruction of the events from 1915 to the aftermath of the First World War, Tusan notes that British politicians claimed the logic of human rights as grounds for foreign intervention, paradoxically, while they held an empire themselves. Britain took a prominent role in Allied efforts to prosecute war crimes against minority Christians in Armenia, but these measures ultimately failed as Britain faced its own political difficulties in the aftermath of the massacres at Smyrna and Amritsar. Soon after the war ended, a collective cultural amnesia about state-sponsored terror settled into British understandings of the genocide as films about the genocide were carefully released to the public to showcase the human tragedy but not assign responsibility to state actors. This article is an important contribution to the political and diplomatic history of the First World War.