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Historian Dr. George A. Bournoutian will offer a special lecture on “The Academic War Over Nagorno-Karabagh” on Sunday, December 2, at 1:00 p.m., at St. George Armenian Church, 22 White St., Hartford, CT. The lecture is co-sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), based in Belmont, MA, and St. George Armenian Church.
George Bournoutian is Senior Professor of History at Iona College. He is the author of numerous books on Armenian history and has taught Armenian history at Columbia Univer-sity, Tufts University, New York University, Rutgers University, the University of Connecticut, Ramapo College, and Glendale Community College.
Fighting War Turns Into Academic Battle
This lecture will explore the ongoing academic battle over the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabagh. Although a cease fire has kept the shooting war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces quiet for over a decade, the scholarly skirmishes continue, with Azeri scholars presenting a version of history that purports to show that the region has always been Azeri territory. This academic battle has real political consequences as both sides stake their claim to an area where much blood has already been shed.
In 2005 Bournoutian published Two Chronicles on the History of Karabagh, with a major grant from NAASR and other funders, a revised and substantially expanded version of Bournoutian’s earlier, out of print History of Qarabagh (1994). The two chronicles in question, Mirza Jamal Javanshir’s Tarikh-e Karabagh and Mirza Adigözal Beg’s Karabagh-name, provide a detailed picture of Karabagh in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The translation of the Tarikh-e
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NAASR Release on Bournoutian Lecture Karabagh formed the basis of his earlier History of Qarabagh, while the Karabagh-name makes its first appearance in English in the new volume.
Historical Revisionism with Political Impact
Bournoutian writes that “Partisans of both [the Armenian and Azeri] sides produced polemical studies affirming their historical claims to the region…. A number of Azerbaijani his-tories, led by the late Ziya Buniatov, have gone beyond the bounds of scholarship and have ma-nipulated the original 19th century Persian texts written by Turkic Muslims, by expunging most references to Armenia and the Armenians in the new editions of these works.”
In presenting these unexpurgated translations with substantial commentary and sup-plemented with material from three other sources, Bournoutian is provides a necessary correc-tive to such polemics. “Statesmen shall ultimately decide the validity of Armenian and Azeri claims in Karabagh,” he writes. “In the meantime, the work of these 19th-century local histori-ans should aid unbiased historians to sort out the facts.”
With Bournoutian serving as an expert guide, those attending the lecture will reach a greater understanding of the troubled history of Nagorno-Karabagh and how the writing of that history has an impact on the shaping of current and future events.
Bournoutian’s book Two Chronicles on the History of Karabagh is available from the NAASR bookstore and will also be on sale the day of the lecture and available for signing by the author.
More information about Bournoutian’s lecture may be had by contacting NAASR at 617-489-1610, faxing 617-484-1759, e-mailing, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.

Belmont, MA
November 9, 2007


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