Critics’ Forum articles

Confronting the Limits of Culture and Identity in Arpine Konyalian Grenier’s The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins

In her 2011 publication, The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins, Arpine Konyalian Grenier sets out to puncture rigid formulations of identity that would classify her as an Armenian-American poet. As an Armenian born in Lebanon and living and producing in the United States, Grenier seeks to dismantle reductive formulations of hyphenated identity.

Filmic Approaches to Catastrophe: Narrative and Trauma in Levon Minasian’s Le Piano and Eric Nazarian’s Bolis

This year’s Arpa International Film Festival featured two short films with a storyline informed by an historic catastrophe: Levon Minasian’s Le Piano depicts the musical aspirations and struggles of a child virtuoso, Loussiné, who was orphaned after the earthquake in Leninakan, Armenia in 1988; Eric Nazarian’s Bolis follows the journey of an Armenian oud player, Armenak, who visits Istanbul to perform in an oud festival and find the site of his grandfather’s pre-Genocide oud shop.

Paradox and Perspective: The Art of Dr. Kevorkian

Regardless of your views on assisted suicide, you probably have an opinion about Jack Kevorkian. He was one of those people who, while sometimes courting controversy for the sake of notoriety, at the same time seemed to advocate for something he believed in very strongly – what he considered the very basic human right of the terminally ill to end their pain and suffering through doctor-assisted suicide.

Toward an Expanded Notion of the Witness: The Promise of Armenian Oral History Collections

This spring marks the end of renowned historian Richard Hovannisian’s time at UCLA, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1962 and the first holder of the Armenian Education Foundation (AEF) Chair in Modern Armenian History since 1987. Those who are familiar with Hovannisian’s prolific record as a writer, editor, lecturer, organizer, and professor, might endow the news of his retirement with a hint of euphemism. In fact, during the recent event, “Forever our Professor,” organized in Hovannisian’s honor by his recent and former students, the beloved professor announced that he would return to the UCLA campus the following year to teach a course in Comparative Genocide Studies.

Genocide Memorials: Symbolism, Ritual Use, and Meaning

This year, April 24 falls on Easter Sunday, a coincidence that is symbolically significant, at once tragic and hopeful. Naturally, the confluence also presents scheduling difficulties for many members of the Armenian community. In recognition of that fact, the commemoration program at the Genocide memorial in Montebello, California, for example, will take place the day before, on April 23rd.

The Future of the Past: Toward the Preservation of Armenian Manuscripts

On January 19, 2011, the University of California, Los Angeles hosted a lecture by UC Davis Art History Professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, entitled “Heritage in Conflict: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript.” Watenpaugh’s lecture focused on the conflict surrounding the seven detached leaves of Canon Tables belonging to the Zeytʿun Gospels, which recently resurfaced after their mysterious disappearance half a century ago. In 1994, these missing pages were loaned by an anonymous collector to the Morgan Library in New York for a public exhibition. The same year, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles claimed to have legally acquired the Canon Tables – presumably from the same unnamed collector – for an unclosed sum of money. Last year, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America filed a lawsuit against the J. Paul Getty Museum challenging its ownership of the Canon Tables and demanding their return. The Canon Tables were separated from the original Zeyt’un Gospels, currently housed in the Maštoc’ Matenadaran (Ms. 10450) in Yerevan Armenia, during the Armenian Genocide.

Critics Forum: The Year That Was (Not)

Hard to believe, but for the first nine months of the past year, Armenian theater in Southern California practically did not exist. It seemed as if all its key producers – aside from the Ardavazt Theater Company, which revived a pair of one-acts – had decided to stage … their own disappearance. Indeed, finding an Armenian play proved about as likely as encountering a unicorn.

Top