Թուրքական և հայկական պատումների բախումը
Հայաստան-Թուրքիա եւ հայեր-թուրքեր հարաբերությունների ճշգրիտ նկարագրումն անգամ խնդրահարույց է. այն զանազան հարթությունների վրա է տեղի ունենում՝ միջանձնականից սկսյալ մինչեւ միջազագային հարաբերություններ: Տվյալ հետազոտությունը վերցնում է պատումը («narrative») որպես առարկա եւ որպես մեթոդաբանություն այն ենթադրությամբ, որ այսօրվա իրավիճակում հայկական-թուրքական հարաբերությունների ամենանշանակալից տարածքը հենց այն պատմություններն են՝ այն պատկերացումները եւ սպասելիքները, որոնք երկու ժողովուրդները ունեն միմյանց հանդեպ: Եթե լինելու է երկարաժամյա հաշտություն, այն պետք է սկսի հենց պատումների վերափոխմամբ:
The Clash of Turkish and Armenian Narratives: The Imperative for a Comprehensive and Nuanced Public Memory
The debates and tensions that very often characterize the interactions between the Turkish and Armenian peoples do not easily fit into frameworks adopted by studies of international affairs. One problem is that of identifying specific actors: states, diasporas, community-level and international organizations, religious bodies, individuals, broader regional or global players and trends. A second problem is identifying what is at stake: moral, ethical, or religious principles, core hard power interests, legal disputes, economic calculations. The complexity of the case challenges any single approach to analysis but at the same time offers the opportunity for multiple points of view to bring forward meaningful insights. This study uses narratives as a source and as a method.
read the rest
Coming to Terms with Armenian-American Identity: The Testimonies of Michael Arlen, Jr. and Peter Balakian in Passage to Ararat and Black Dog of Fate
Paper presented at the “Critical Approaches to Armenian Identity in the 21st Century: Vulnerability, Resilience, and Transformation” conference organised by the Hrant Dink Foundation and the Hamazkayine Educational Foundation, with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, held in Istanbul, Turkey, October 7-8, 2016
The United States offers a very interesting context to explore issues of identity at multiple levels. It is a diverse society that promotes a sense of citizenship while at the same time largely allowing for the practices of pre-immigration cultures. The Armenian-American story is fascinating that way. “Armenian-American” has become much more defined as an identity over the past few decades, comprised of many traditional Armenian elements accommodated within and shaped by the American environment that surrounds them.
That was not always the case. For most of the 20th century, assimilation was the name of the game. In that light, the memoirs to be reviewed in this study consider two individuals who were born into families in which the Armenian heritage was secondary or outright discouraged and who came of age in that 20th-century America. The two somehow encounter and connect with their Armenian identities later on in life. Passage to Ararat by Michael Arlen, Jr. was published in 1975 and Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate came out in 1997. Each published his text at almost exactly the same age, in their mid-forties, having about one generation between them, capturing somewhat different historical moments in terms of Armenia and the Armenian people. Continue reading
I originally wrote this very brief piece of research back in December, but could not manage to publish it anywhere. Before the data got too old, I figured to post it here.
Resident Representation Ratio (3R) as an Index of Diplomatic Activity:
Comparing the P5 and the States of the South Caucasus
Traditional bilateral relations with on-the-ground embassies continue to remain a mainstay in inter-governmental affairs. This paper proposes a quantitative approach to measuring the diplomatic activity of States on the basis of the ratio of resident embassies sent to resident embassies received. Resident Representation Ratio, or 3R, offers a quick and simple comparative index. This paper further carries out a 3R comparison among the P5 alongside three States in the South Caucasus. It is found that, despite having the greatest absolute numbers, the United States has the lowest proportion of sent embassies to received embassies, similar to the United Kingdom. France, Russia, and China have a higher 3R index, closer in number. France has slightly more embassies sent than received. In the South Caucasus, Georgia displays the highest proportion, even though Azerbaijan has the greatest absolute numbers. Armenia has the lowest absolute numbers, but second-highest 3R index overall.
The shifting focus of the Armenian Cause
The issue of the Armenian Genocide did not manifest any regular political expression until the late 1960s. The Armenian Cause, as it has come to be known (Hai Tahd in Western Armenian; Hai Daht in Eastern Armenian), followed mass demonstrations in particular in 1965. That was the 50th year marking the arrest of notable Armenians in İstanbul on April 24, which heralded the massacres and deportations that followed Surprisingly, rallies took place in Yerevan in Soviet Armenia in 1965, running contrary to the anti-national policies of the USSR. It did not take long for communities within the organized Armenian diaspora to take on the mantle of genocide recognition as their primary raison d’être.1 Continue reading
The Early Modern Social Contract as Imagined in Philadelphia and Madras: A Comparative Analysis of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and the Vorogayt Parats-Nshavak
Paper presented at the 40th anniversary workshop of the Society for Armenian Studies held in Yerevan, Armenia, October 3-5, 2014
The end of the 18th century was an innovative era in terms of political organisation. The revolutions in the United States and in France, as well as such less enduring movements as the Polish Constitution, were echoed halfway across the world in Madras, India (modern Chennai), where a small but wealthy and active community of Armenians expressed ambitious plans for a future Armenian state. Although those plans did not come to fruition, the Vorogayt Parats-Nshavak reflects the Western discourse inspired by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and others, refracted not just through an Armenian lens alone, but the specific perspective of Persian-Armenian merchants in India – a country quickly coming under the British yoke, alongside the presence of other European powers, such as the French and Portuguese. Meanwhile, after about a decade of an inefficient arrangement under the Articles of Confederation, the US Constitution tried to bring together “a more perfect Union” for its part, marrying the ideological drive of the Declaration of Independence to practical considerations of the day-to-day affairs of running a country.
This paper will examine the Vorogayt Parats-Nshavak in light of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. It presumes familiarity on the part of the reader with the latter, American documents. It will first discuss the texts of the Vorogayt Parats and the Nshavak, including some analysis, followed by a comparison with the two founding documents of the United States in terms of the conceptions of statehood and in other detils. Additionally, the problems of the authorship of the Vorogayt Parats-Nshavak will be taken up, as will its dating, and the designations of the documents in question.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the relations between the Armenians and the Turks entered a new phase with the establishment of an independent Republic of Armenia. The inter-state interactions that followed took place in a context that also included regional players, the international community, as well as the organised Armenian Diaspora. This thesis argues that the difficulty to come to a lasting regional peace can be explained by (1) the relative weakness on the part of the Armenian state vis-à-vis Turkey, as well as (2) the unstable domestic political situation in Turkey in the 1990s coupled with the ineffective foreign policy of the AKP government in power in Ankara since 2002. A few schools of international relations theory are employed to assess the relationship: realism, liberalism, institutionalism, geopolitics, and constructivism. Given the differences in power and interests of the two states, the resulting asymmetrical relations are best explained using a constructivist approach, which helps shape a concluding section on the national psychology that underlies the interaction between Armenians and Turks, including narratives of identity and how they inform policy. The thesis concludes that, as a complex issue, with the involvement of the United States, the international community, and even with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict not too far removed, and also with neither the Republic of Armenia nor the Armenian Diaspora having enough clout to shift policy one way or another, Turkey remains the factor with the greatest potential to influence proceedings. It is domestic political considerations and the consequential unclear positions and self-contradictory actions on the part of Ankara that have gone the farthest to maintain the instability and anti-climaxes characteristic of the Armenia-Turkey story between 1991 and 2010. And therefore it will be changes within Turkey itself that will bear the greatest consequences for the future of Armenia-Turkey relations.
Download the full paper here: Master’s Thesis – Nareg Seferian – June 2013
The foundation of the United States of America is one of the most remarkable events in human history. States have been established and have perished since time immemorial, but there are a number of unique elements to the story of America. What allows a people to declare themselves sovereign? What justifies a people in asserting their right to revolt? Where would such a right come from in the first place?
This paper initially deals with the Declaration of Independence as it stands by itself. It next explores the philosophical influences on the thinking that went into it, drawing from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. The end of government per se is taken up very superficially, inasmuch as the issue is dealt with in the Declaration and the Second Treatise. Issues dealing with the maintenance of regimes also lie mostly beyond the scope of this paper. What is relevant and what is being particularly gleaned from the texts are insights into the right to revolt and secede – the right to proclaim sovereignty as portrayed in the Declaration and the philosophical basis which provides for such a right as discussed in the Second Treatise.
The final section of this paper offers concluding thoughts and speculations on political philosophy and various aspects of statehood, in particular the problem of legitimacy and legality as viewed from these two texts.
Download the full paper here: Bachelor’s Essay – Nareg Seferian – February 2011.
Genocide Politics: Players, Moves and An Endgame
The issue of the events involving Armenians and Turks at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century has gained political currency over the past few decades. It involves a number of players: the Republic of Turkey, the organized Armenian Diaspora, the Republic of Armenia, the Armenians of Turkey, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the nascent émigré groups of Turks and Azerbaijanis in the West. Whereas the Armenian parties must consolidate their efforts and present a united front, the greater onus lies on Turkey as the biggest and most significant player to achieve a lasting resolution.
read the rest