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Creating the WitnessDocumenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet$
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Leshu Torchin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676224

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676224.001.0001

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To Acquaint America with Ravished Armenia

To Acquaint America with Ravished Armenia

(p.21) 1 To Acquaint America with Ravished Armenia
Creating the Witness

Leshu Torchin

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines how global witnessing is facilitated by a variety of early media, with particular emphasis on the Armenian genocide. To best understand the relationship among visual media, global witnessing, and the production of response, the chapter combines analyses of aesthetic, formal, and genre properties of the texts with the social scaffolding developed around the texts designed to enhance meaning and animate action. It focuses on the publicity activity of Near East Relief (NER), placing it in the wider context of reportage and response to the Armenian crisis. In particular, it analyzes the film Ravished Armenia (1919), used as part of NER’s fundraising campaign. It also explores the film’s joint iconographies of Christian suffering and Orientalist threat that aided in the manufacture of a common humanity and attendant obligation. Finally, it considers NER’s reliance on donations, relief, and grassroots advertising to administer aid and engage in fundraising campaigns.

Keywords:   witnessing, Armenia, genocide, visual media, publicity, Near East Relief, film, Ravished Armenia, fundraising, grassroots advertising

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