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Dr. Anny Bakalian will present an illustrated talk entitled “Subversive Tourism? Armenian Pilgrimage to Historic Cilicia,” on Wednesday, August 5, 2009, at 7:00 p.m., at Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor, New York City. The event will be co-sponsored by Alwan for the Arts and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).
Many Armenian Americans have grandparents and great-grandparents who were born in areas of Historic Armenia in present-day Turkey. Cilicia is the western region of their historic homeland, where a nobleman from Greater Armenia founded the Rubenian dynasty in the 11th century along the Mediterranean. King Ruben and others who followed him were staunch allies of Crusaders from Europe. These kingdoms came to be known as Lesser Armenia. The Armenian population was decimated by the pogroms and genocide against Armenians in 1894-96 and 1915-22. By 1923, the only significant Armenian community in Turkey was in Constantinople.
The names of the villages and towns of their ancestors are vivid in the memories and personal history of the descendants of Genocide survivors. Yet few have ventured to trace their roots there. This presentation documents the pilgrimage in May-June 2009 of 22 Armenian Americans to Cilicia and environs.
The trip was sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). Prof. Richard Hovannisian of UCLA was the scholarly guide, putting the landscape and places in a historical context that has disappeared from guides to Turkey.
Dr. Bakalian’s presentation documents photographically this experience of “Subversive Tourism”—including many of the reactions the locals had to this group of Armenian tourists returning to the lost lands of their heritage—which for its participants was socially, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally transformative.
Admission to the lecture is free (donations appreciated). For directions visit
More information about the lecture is available by calling 617-489-1610, faxing 617-484-1759, e-mailing, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.

marc Mamigonian

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