Western missionaries became important eyewitnesses of the 1915 Armenian genocide, and many reported on the events. This article analyses witness reporting from a biographical and gendered perspective, taking into account the significance of studying local activism and transnational networks in a humanitarian setting. Taking the witness accounts of the Swedish missionary Alma Johansson as an example, I discuss the conditions and strategies for women to reach out and form opinions in a transnational setting. I also analyse how gender shaped the humanitarian message. Using a narrative analysis, the article further explores the dual motives of the witness accounts of Alma Johansson—the aims of public resistance and private recovery. She wanted to protest openly against the violence and the perceived silence of the world concerning the genocide, at the same time as having to work on her personal trauma. The article assumes that witness narratives can be a catalyst of change, and that these two motives, resistance and recovery, were deeply connected.
Read the article (Open access)
Maria Småberg's research profile