Stefanie Pousoulides is a junior from Akron, Ohio studying political science and international comparative studies. As a descendant of survivors of the genocide against Christians in the Ottoman Empire, Stefanie is interested in learning how political institutions approach providing genocide survivors forms of legal and humanitarian redress. She also has research interests in American political behavior and institutions through research projects in the political science department on presidential promises and fulfillment, partisan gerrymandering, young voters and racial prejudice. She seeks to combine her experiences using methods like text analysis and rational choice models to genocide studies, in addition to her interests in American politics, in her hope of pursuing a J.D./Ph.D. Outside of this research, she enjoys hiking, traveling and investigative reporting.

Stefanie’s research project contributes to her senior thesis entitled, “Women in the Armenian Genocide: The Legal and Humanitarian Response of the League of Nations (1919-1939).” The execution of the Armenian Genocide was gendered, and so were the remedies issued to Armenian survivors. While Armenian men were more frequently subject to mass killings and labor camps, Armenian women more frequently faced sexual violence, deportations and means of assimilation into the Ottoman Empire, in addition to facing mass murders. Stefanie seeks to understand how the League perceived what the humanitarian and legal needs were of Armenian women survivors and how that shaped its disparate legal and humanitarian responses.

Regarding the legal response, Stefanie will ask questions like: What avenues of legal redress were available to Armenian men and Armenian women survivors, respectively, after the genocide? How did the Ottoman war crimes tribunal that prosecuted genocide perpetrators issue verdicts in relation to offenses more frequently committed against Armenian women compared to Armenian men? And how would that have been different if an Ottoman High Court that would have entailed a prosecution of high cabinet officers based on constitutional claims as opposed to prosecution of lower level governmental officials based on criminal code and military code claims? How did the League attempt to provide legal status to stateless Armenian refugees or those who attempted to repatriate?

Alternatively, Stefanie seeks to ask questions regarding how the League’s humanitarian response shaped by its gendered perception of the Armenian Genocide and as efforts to save Armenian women survivors  She will ask questions such as: What humanitarian protections did the League seek to provide to Armenian women and Armenian men, respectively, and which geographic groups did those protections target (i.e. those within nations in which stateless refugees resided, those within the newly formed Turkish state)? What means did the League consider and which did it choose to implement, and which countries were party to those discussions? Her research seeks to demonstrate how the League simultaneously considered legal and humanitarian solutions for survivors of the Armenian genocide but its gendered perceptions of the genocide affected which means the League ultimately facilitated for Armenian women. 


 

Updates:

May 20: Armenian women genocide survivors as agents

June 11: Petitions to the League of Nations

July 2: Final reflection