The Feel Good Identity

The Feel Good Identity

New insights into third and fourth generation Brazilian-Armenians

For much of the 20th century, the prevailing force shaping the various Armenian organizations that made up diasporan life had been hayabahbanoum — literally, “Armeno-preservation.” Whether it was church, dance troupes, schools, newspapers, or scouts, the main point of such activities was to ensure that Armenians stayed Armenian, meaning the language was spoken, the food was eaten, and young Armenian men and women met and married one another.

Living a life as Armenian as possible, so to speak, was perceived as a duty, coming as it did in the wake of a rich and vibrant culture being almost completely annihilated in 1915. In some sense, this was a natural reaction. How it played out depended a great deal on where a given community ended up. In the case of Brazil, four generations in, the Armenians have become more than just inhabitants in a host country, rather they are fully actualized citizens of a nation, if not citizens of the world.

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Scenarios of Power in De Facto States: Karabakh’s 2020 Presidential Inauguration

Scenarios of Power in De Facto States: Karabakh’s 2020 Presidential Inauguration

Gerard Toal & Nareg Seferian

All states have their iconographies and rituals designed to project their legitimacy and power. They organize space as sacred patrimony and time as memory, anniversary and the eternal. Presidential inaugurations are occasions where we see this process in scenarios and ceremonies of power. The United States has an oath-taking in front of dignitaries and a majestic Capitol building. France and Russia have public ceremonies featuring the journey of the elected leader to regal buildings of power, these very setting and their elaborate interior décor signifying a treasured and transcendent patrimony of the nation and state.

It is hardly a surprise that de facto states – states that have established territorial control and internal legitimacy in a contested region, but lack recognition in external legitimacy as states among other states in the international community – look to the ceremonies of established states when inventing their own ceremonies of power. How they do so is an interesting window into their prevailing constructions of the time-space of their visions of their territorial nation-stateness.

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SAS Podcast #41 – Levon Avdoyan

SAS Podcast #41 – Levon Avdoyan

Dr. Levon AvdoyanReflections on Armenian Studies V.

Interviewed by Nareg Seferian (School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech)

The aim of the Reflections on Armenian Studies series is twofold: to interview senior figures about their experience in and contribution to the field, and create a digital archive for future generations in the field. 

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A Couple of Notable Words in Arayik Harutyunyan’s Inaugural Address

A Couple of Notable Words in Arayik Harutyunyans Inaugural Address

The fourth president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh took his oath of office on Thursday, May 21. There are many observations that could be made about the ceremony – the broadcast and the narrative it creates, how it portrays and situates the new leader, Arayik Harutyunyan, within it, the implicit and explicit context created by the visuals, locations, and music, alongside the protocols surrounding the inauguration.

I was drawn to one paragraph in Harutyunyan’s speech:

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Երեւանում Գանդիի Արձանը՝ Ողջունելի Փաստ | A Statue of Mahatma Gandhi is Welcome in Yerevan

Երեւանում Գանդիի Արձանը՝ Ողջունելի Փաստ

Պատրիկ Ազատյանը Երեւանում տեղադրուելիք Մահաթմա Գանդիի արձանի գաղափարին դէմ իր յօդուածում բովանդակալից փաստարկներ է առաջ բերում: Գանդիի քաղաքական ժառանգութիւնն իսկապէս վիճայարոյց է: Ինչպէս Ազատյանն է նշում, Գանդիի առաջնորդած Հնդկական Ազգային Համագումարը 1920-ականների սկզբին Խալիֆայութեան Շարժմանն էր աջակցում՝ որպէս երկրի հսկայ մահմեդական բնակչութեան հետ համագործակցելու հարթակ: Այն օսմանեան փլուզուող կայսրութեան սուլթանի հանդէպ գաղութատիրական ուժերի կողմից տեղադրուած սահմանափակումներին ընդդէմ շարժում էր. սուլթանը խալիֆն էր՝ այսինքն, սուննի մահմեդականութեան առաջնորդը: (Երբ Մուսթաֆա Քէմալը անցաւ իշխանութեան եւ աշխարհիկ հանրապետութիւն հիմնեց Թուրքիայում, նա խալիֆայութեանը ամբողջովին վերջ դրեց, այնպէս որ այդ շարժումը մարուեց:) Հայ ազգայնականների համար Գանդիի կապը Խալիֆայութեան Շարժման հետ բացասական կէտ կարող է հանդիսանալ:

կարդալ մնացածը

A Statue of Mahatma Gandhi is Welcome in Yerevan

Patrick Azadian puts forward some meaningful arguments in his article against the plan for a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Yerevan. Gandhi’s political legacy is indeed controversial. As Azadian outlined, the Indian National Congress led by Gandhi supported the Khilafat Movement in the early 1920s as a platform for co-operating with the large Muslim population in the country. They were protesting the limitations placed by the colonial powers on the Ottoman Sultan – who served as Caliph, or head of Sunni Islam – as the empire was collapsing. (Once Mustafa Kemal came to power and established a secular republic in Turkey, he abolished the caliphate outright, so that movement subsided.) For Armenian nationalists, Gandhi’s association with the Khilafat Movement could be a sore point.

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The Armenian Genocide, Modern Times & The Surrounding Region

96The Armenian Genocide, Modern Times & The Surrounding Region

“Our hero enlightens himself on a topic that he really should know more about. Lets get educational.

Less lols this week but much more interesting and hopefully y’all can learn something.

As we hear in this episode, I personally, had never heard of the Armenian genocide. But years ago, outside a bar in Berlin – I heard someone reference it. And since then, it has kind of just stayed in my memory without really learning much about it.

Wouldn’t it be great if I had some form of vehicle where I could interview people and learn more about topics that I wanted to learn more about?”

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Անհնար է Սփյուռքի միասնական մարմին ստեղծել | A Unified Diasporan Representation is Unrealistic

Անհնար է Սփյուռքի միասնական մարմին ստեղծել

Վերջերս ՀՀ Սփյուռքի գործերի գլխավոր հանձնակատար Զարեհ Սինանյանը Սիվիլնեթի հետ հարցազրույցում շոշափեց «ամբողջ սփյուռքի միասնական մարմին ունենալու» գաղափարը: Նման միտք անցյալում էլ է հնչել, օրինակ 2010-ին` լոսնաջելեսահայ հայտնի սյունակագիր Հարութ Սասունյանի եւ նախկինում ավելի աշխույժ գիտական խմբակ Policy Forum Armenia-ի կողմից:

Այդ գաղափարն ինչքան էլ արտացոլի ազգային միասնականության զգացմունքը, իրականում բնավ իրատեսական չէ, մի քանի պատճառով:

կարդալ մնացածը

A Unified Diasporan Representation is Unrealistic

In a recent interview with CivilNet, the Republic of Armenia’s High Commissioner for Diasporan Affairs Zareh Sinanyan touched upon the notion of “having a body unifying the entire diaspora”. This idea has come up in the past, such as in a column by the well-known Los Angeles-based writer Harout Sassounian and in a report by Policy Forum Armenia, a formerly more active research group, both back in 2010.

As much as that idea reflects a feeling of national unity, it is not feasible in reality, for a few reasons.

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Making Room

Making Room

An influx of foreign residents and visitors is changing the face of Armenia

A quick walk from Republic Square, an LED sign lights up for a store. The place advertises itself in Armenian, English, Russian, and Farsi. Four languages, four entirely different scripts—a doubly literal and figurative sign of Armenia as a crossroads of cultures with a lively tradition of global trade cutting through borders.

Over the past decade and more, as Armenia and Armenians have reached out to the world for business, education, or tourism, foreigners have been beating a small, steady, and lasting path toward the country. According to the Migration Service of the Republic of Armenia, 18,856 foreign citizens had received temporary, permanent, or special residency status by the end of June, 2019, half of whom were from Russia, Iran, and India, with Syria and the United States trailing not too far behind. The numbers have been a bit erratic over the past five years (see figure), but a recent upward trend is notable.

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The US Congress’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide goes beyond trying to vex Turkey

92The US Congress’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide goes beyond trying to vex Turkey

Amidst all the ruckus over impeachment, Ukraine and whistleblowers at Congress, the House of Representatives took a landmark decision on Tuesday 29 October, to formally recognise the Armenian Genocide.

Various incarnations of the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly by 405-11, have appeared and been shelved on a number of occasions over the past few decades. Pushed forward by Armenian-American advocacy groups with the support of key representatives and senators, it was always countered by lobbying led by the Turkish government, often with the backing of the State Department or the defence establishment.

Although a majority of scholars have long agreed that the experience of the Armenians and other non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War amounts to genocide, the government of Turkey denies that designation, instead describing the massacres and deportations as general wartime catastrophes during which Muslim populations suffered and died as well.

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Armenia, Armenians & Armenian-ness

Episode 44 (1 of 2): Armenia, Armenians & Armenian-ness

In this first half of our two-part conversation with Nareg Seferian we speak about the Armenian Genocide, the modern state of Armenia, the Armenian diaspora, and Armenian identity.

listen to part 1

Episode 45 (2 of 2): Armenia, Armenians & Armenian-ness

In this second half of our two-part conversation with Nareg Seferian we speak about the Armenian Genocide, the modern state of Armenia, the Armenian diaspora, and Armenian identity.

listen to part 2