Melanie Schulze Tanielian

Tanielian Image 2019

I am Associate Professor in the History Department and Director of Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In the broadest sense, I am historian of war and society, and am currently working on a comparative history of psychiatric hospitals during World War I. The project, preliminary titled Transnational Lunacy: Madness, Society and Citizenship in a World at War (1914-1920), is funded by the American Council for Learned Society (ACLS) and the International and Area Studies Division of the Nation Endowment for Humanities.

My 2018 monograph, The Charity of War: Famine, Humanitarian Aid and World War I in the Middle East, tells how the Ottoman home front grappled with total war and how it sought to mitigate starvation and sickness through relief activities. Using Ottoman Beirut as a case study, the book examines the wartime activities of the city's municipal, philanthropic, and religious institutions and organizations, as well as international and state agencies, and reveals a dynamic politics of provisioning that was central to civilian experiences in the war, as well as to the Middle Eastern political landscape that emerged post-war.

Starting July 2019, I have the pleasure of directing the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I have been a member of the Armenian Studies Executive Committee since 2012. As part of the committee, I have organized and co-organized several workshops, among them Teaching about Genocide: Approaches and Challenges and Rescue or Internment: Orphans of the Armenian Genocide. In 2015, together with Prof. Kathryn Babayan, I  curated the Francis W. Kelsey Exhibit: 'Now or Never': Collecting, Documenting, and Photographing the Aftermath of World War I in the Middle East to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian genocide.

Book Cover

Publications

The Charity of War tells how the Ottoman home front grappled with total war and how it sought to mitigate starvation and sickness through relief activities. It examines the wartime famine's reverberations throughout the community: in Beirut's municipal institutions, in its philanthropic and religious organizations, in international agencies, and in the homes of the city's residents. This local history reveals a dynamic politics of provisioning that was central to civilian experiences in the war, as well as to the Middle Eastern political landscape that emerged post-war. By tracing these responses to the conflict, it demonstrates World War I's immediacy far from the European trenches, in a place where war was a socio-economic and political process rather than a military event.

 

“Feeding the City: The Beirut Municipality and Civilian Provisioning During World War I,” in International Journal of Middle East Studies, 46 (2014), 737-758.

 “Disease and Public Health (Ottoman Empire/Middle East)” in 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. By Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2014-10-8.

Melanie Schulze Tanielian