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UCLA to host major conference on Armenian studies

Thus March 26 and 28 at Then Ucla campus.
Complete program (see Taner Akcam 4-6 pm on Friday )
UCLA to host major conference on Armenian studies
by V. L.
Published: Saturday March 07, 2009

Los Angeles - The Society for Armenian Studies will mark its 35th anniversary with a major conference titled, "Armenian Studies at a Threshold." The enigmatic title may reflect the broad nature of the conference, which will cover everything from medieval literature, arts, history, and culture to sexual allegories in Armenian literature, from Armenians in early modern east central Europe to research on the contemporary Armenian diaspora. All these themes and much more will be covered between Thursday, March 26 and Saturday, March 28 at the UCLA campus.

Over 40 papers are to be delivered consecutively. In addition, a 12-member panel will discuss the state of Armenian studies in the United States. An architectural exhibit will be held in conjunction with the conference.

The conference will bring together most - though not all - of the major scholars who study things Armenian, and many of the newer generation of scholars.

The proceedings will end with a banquet on Saturday night. Past practice suggests that Professor Richard G. Hovannisian will give banquet attendees, many of whom will have missed the conference, a summary of all the papers presented.

Contemporary Armenian diaspora
A panel chaired by Khachig Tölölyan, the leading scholar of diasporas, will focus on the contemporary Armenian diaspora. The discussant is the prominent anthropologist Aram Yengoyan.

Sossie Kasbarian (Geneva) will seek to "reinvigorate" the concept of diaspora with a focus on the Armenian case. Susan Pattie (London) will ask of 21st-century Armenians, "Is Anyone Paying Attention?" Anny Bakalian, who did a survey of Armenian-Americans in the New York metro area in the late 1980s and wrote a book based on the results, will now focus on "Assimilation and Identity among Armenian Americans in the 21st Century." Additional papers will focus on France and Canada (Aida Boudjikanian, Montreal) and Argentina (Nelida Boulghourdjian, Buenos Aires,).

Sexual perversion
A panel, "Between Perversion and Representation: Sexual Allegories in Armenian Literature," will be chaired by Rubina Peroomian, who will also serve as discussant. The panelists - Tamar Boyadjian, Talar Chahinian, Myrna Douzjian, and Lilit Keshishyan - all women affiliated with UCLA, will look at works by Grigor Tgha, Vorpuni, Nigoghos Sarafian, Shahan Shanur, Gurgen Khanjian, and a woman, Violet Grigorian.

Church politics and identity
In what promises to be a well-attended panel, Ara Sanjian (University of Michigan, Dearborn) will speak on "The British Foreign Office, the Church of England, and the Crisis in the Armenian Church at Antelias, 1956-1963." Marlen Eordegian (Vanderbilt University) will discuss the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem in a paper titled, "Straddling Religion and Politics." Paul Werth (Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas), will discuss the Church in czarist Russia. Abraham Terian (St. Nersess Seminary) will occupy the chair.

Adana 1909 and the Genocide
George Shirinian of the Zoryan Institute will chair a panel titled, "New Perspectives on the Armenian Genocide." It will feature Taner Akçam (Clark Univ.), who will speak about Ottoman documents and genocidal intent, Janet Klein (Univ. of Akron), who will focus on Kurds, her area of expertise, Lerna Ekmekcio?lu (NYU), who will discuss sexual violence as a "marker" during and after the Genocide, and Vahram Shemmassian (CSU-Northridge), who will discuss the rescue of captive Genocide survivors in 1919-21.

Professor Hovannisian will chair a panel on the Adana massacres of 100 years ago. The three panelists are to include Dr. Peroomian, Ohannes K?l?çda?? (Istanbul), and Bedross Der Matossian (Cambridge, Mass.)

The state of the art
The panel on the state of Armenian studies will be chaired by Marc Mamigonian (NAASR). Panelists are to be Prof. Akçam, Jirair Libaridian and Kevork Bardakjian (Ann Arbor), Prof. Hovannisian and S. Peter Cowe (UCLA), Richard Hrair Dekmejian (USC), Barlow Der Mugrdechian (CSU-Fresno), Roberta Ervine (St. Nersess Seminary), Christina Maranci (Tufts Univ.), Simon Payaslian (Boston Univ.), Prof. Sanjian, and Prof. Shemmassian.

Other panels will cover:

• Medieval literature and the arts (featuring Theo van Lint and Robert Thomson, both of Oxford Univ., Sona Haroutyunian of Venice, and Andrea Scala of Milan - who is dedicating a whole paper to the name of the Latin language in Classical Armenian).

• Medieval history and culture (Anne Elizabeth Redgate of Newcastle Univ., chair, Sergio La Porta, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, Sara Nur Y?ld?z, Bilgi Univ., and Tom Sinclair, Univ. of Cyprus).

• Armenian history as connected history (Houri Berberian, CSU-Long Beach, chair, Sebouh Aslanian, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor - on world history's challenge to Armenian studies - Prof. Cowe, Rachel Goshgarian, Zohrab Center, New York, and Elyse Semerdjian, Whitman College - on the Armenians of Ottoman Aleppo).

• Economy, Society, and Culture of Early Modern East Central Europe, 14th-19th centuries (George Bournoutian, Iona College, chair, Andreas Helmedach and Bálint Kovács, Leipzig, and Judit Pál, Romania. Bálint Kovács and Judit Pál will discuss Armenians in Transylvania).

• Contemporary Armenia (Hovann Simonian, USC, chair; Khatchik Der Ghougassian, Buenos Aires, on "Market Fundamentalism, Economic Hardship, and Social Protest in Armenia"; Konrad Siekierski, Poland, "Nation and Faith, Past and Present: The Contemporary Discourse of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Armenia"; Tamara Tonoyan, National Institute of Health, Yerevan, "HIV/AIDS in Armenia: Migration as a Socio-Economic and Cultural Component of Women's Risk Settings"; Anahid Keshishian-Aramouni, UCLA, "Inknagir Magazine: Frivolous Iconoclasm or Marker of Artistic Liberty?"; Gregory Areshian, UCLA, Pavel Avetisyan, and Armine Hayrapetyan, Yerevan, "Archaeology in Post-Soviet Armenia: New Discoveries, Problems, and Perspectives."

• Armenians, World War II, and Repatriation (Barbara Merguerian, chair; Levon Thomassian, CSU-Northridge, Sevan Yousefian, UCLA, and Joanne Laycock, University of Manchester, on various aspects of repatriation; Vartan Matiossian on combating racial views during the first half of the 20th century; Gregory Aftandilian on World War II as an enhancer of Armenian-American second generation identity; and Astrig Atamian, INALCO, on Armenian communists in France.

Annette Melikia