The Geography of Genocide: Mapping the Refugee during World War I in the Middle East

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Center for Armenian Studies Events


Spring Program

Publisher Location

University of Massachusetts, Amherst


This talk maps the Armenian Genocide refugee crisis to render visible the human geography of total war. For those stuck in the no man’s land between war and peace in the Ottoman Empire, World War I did not end with the signing of the 1918 armistices or the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. It continued beyond the signing of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and produced the world’s largest refugee crisis to date while leaving a legacy of political instability that continues to plague the region. Deep maps – rendered using ARC- GIS technology and data from official documents, institutional records, and diaries of aid workers, refugees, and other non-combatants – reveal how refugee routes and war relief infrastructure reconfigured the landscape. The refugee experience of those fleeing genocide took form in the desert, the camp, and on the road during a protracted and seemingly unending war that had important consequences for minorities in the postwar Middle East.

Controlled Subject

Geography; Genocide; World War (1914-1918)


Military, War, and Peace

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