17 Scholars Present Comprehensive History of Erzerum

WESTWOOD–The fourth in the series of seminars on Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces took place over the weekend at the Dickson Auditorium at UCLA. The symposium–which attracted more than 400 community members and featured 17 academicians from around the world was organized by Prof. Richard Hovannisian and was sponsored by the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA–in cooperation with the Grigor Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Language and Literature

The conference focused on the city and region of Karin/Erzerum in Upper Armenia (Bartsr Hayk). Scholars and Armenian Chair Holders from the United States–Europe–and Armenia eloquently and with great detail traced the Armenian presence in Karin from antiquity to the 20th century.

A presentation by Prof. Hovannisian entitled "An Introduction to Bartsr Hayk and Karin" kicked off the Saturday morning session. This was followed by a talk by Robert Hewsen of Rowan University in New Jersey on the historical geography of Bartsr Hayk.

A presentation entitled "The Foundation and Ecclesiastical Role of Karin/Theodosiopolis" scheduled to be given by Columbia University’s Nina Garsoian was instead presented by Hovannisian–due to the former’s absence.

The morning session continued with presentation by Robert Thomson of Oxford University on "Armenian Views of Byzantine Aggression and Turkish Invasion." Dickran Kouymjian of CSU–Fresno discussed "The Decline and Revival of Erzerum in the 16th-18th Centuries," while Lucy Der Manuelian of Tufts University spoke about "Medieval Karin/Erzerum: Churches–Carpets–Tombs–and Trade."

Ashot Melkonyan of the History Institute in Yerevan presented a talk entitled "Social Demographic Changes in Karin/Erzerum under Ottoman Dominion." His presentation was made in Armenian and later was summarized in English.

The Saturday afternoon session featured Rebecca Morris of the University of Michigan–whose presentation called "Armenian Emigration from Erzerum– 1829-1830" was followed by a talk by James Reid of the Speros Basil Vryonis Center on "Armenia’s in Erzerum Vilayet under Ottoman Rule–1830s-1870s."

Pamela Nahabedian Young–also of the University of Michigan discussed "The Role of the Sanasarian Academy in Making a People into a Nation." Rubina Peroomian of UCLA presented a lecture entitled "A Call Sounded from the Armenian Mountains of Erzerum–Tsayn me Hnchets…," discussing the national liberation and revolutionary movement in the region.

The afternoon session came to a close with a comprehensive presentation by Vartiter Kotcholosian Hovannisian of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group who discussed Armenian village life in the plain of Karin.

The enthusiastic audience returned to Dickson hall Sunday afternoon to hear Krikor Beledian of the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris present a talk entitled "The ‘Absent Land’ in Armenian Literature." The lecture was also presented in Armenian with an English summary.

Gia Aivazian of UCLA focused on "The W.L. Sachtleben Papers at UCLA on Erzerum in the 1890s–" while Isabel Kaprielian of CSU–Fresno spoke about "Keghi and the Keghi Compatriotic Societies before World War I."

Hilmar Kaiser of the European University Institute in Florence spoke about Erzerum Province in 1915: The View from the German Consulate. The Sunday session was capped off by presentations by Prof. Hovannisian entitled "Erzerum from 1916 to 1921: Andranik–Sevres–and Mustafa Kemal" and a talk by David S. Calonne of Ann Arbor–Michigan whose presentation was entitled "William Saroyan and the Erzerum Connection."

Asbarez Online will provide complete coverage of this important symposium in upcoming editions.

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