Fresno State’s Armenian Studies Program to Hold Two-Day International Conference



FRESNO — The Armenian Studies Program of California State University, Fresno is holding a major international conference on “Empire, Politics, and War: The Armenian Genocide within the Context of the Ottoman Empire” to be held on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, 2016. The Conference will bring an international group of scholars to explore new facets of the Armenian Genocide.

The Conference is co-sponsored by the Society for Armenian Studies, the College of Arts & Humanities of California State University, Fresno, with the support of the Thomas A. Kouymjian Family Foundation, the Leon S. Peters Foundation, and the M. Victoria Kazan Fund for Armenian Studies.

Conference organizers Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian Studies Program Coordinator, and Ümit Kurt, Kazan Visiting Scholar at Fresno State, expect the Conference to attract great interest among both scholars and the public.

Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program

Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program

On Friday, March 18, the Conference will begin at 7:30 p.m. with welcoming addresses from Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities and Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program. Dr. Stephan Astourian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley, will follow with a keynote address “Armenian Genocide Studies: Development as a Field, Historiographical Appraisal, and the Road Ahead.”

The Conference will take place in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus. An hors d’oeuvres reception will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the University Business Center Gallery, just prior to the Conference.

Following the keynote address, three panelists will address various aspects of the Armenian Genocide: Varak Ketsamanian (University of Chicago-Center for Middle Eastern Studies) “The Hunchakian Party and the Assassination Attempts against Maksudzade Simon Efendi and Khoren Ashekian”; Anna Aleksanyan (Clark University, Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center) “From Adana to Bolis: Zabel Yesayan’s Letters to Tigran Yesayan in 1909”and Dr. Yektan Turkyilmaz (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin) “War and Genocide: Rethinking WWI and the Path to the Armenian Catastrophe.”

Ümit Kurt, Kazan Visiting Scholar at Fresno State.

Ümit Kurt, Kazan Visiting Scholar at Fresno State.

The Conference will reconvene at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 19, with a session chaired by Dr. Sergio La Porta, Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at Fresno State. The session will take place in the Whitten Room of the Fresno State Smittcamp Alumni House (Matoian Way on the Fresno State campus-enter at Shaw and Maple) and will be divided into two parts.

Part I will feature presentations by Yaşar Tolga Cora (University of Chicago) “An Armenian Officer in the Ottoman Army during the Genocide: Memoirs of Kalusd Surmenian” and Dr. Khatchig Mouradian (Clark University) “Concentration Camps during the Armenian Genocide: Power, Collaboration, and Resistance.”

Following a coffee break the Conference will conclude with two more papers by Ümit Kurt (Clark University) “Survival Struggles of Aintab Deportees in Salamiyya: Testimonial Accounts of Genocide Survivors Krikor Bogharian and Der Nerses Tavukjian” and Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian (Armenian Studies Program, California State University, Fresno) “A Survivor’s Memoir: Siranoosh My Child.”

All sessions and the reception are free and open to the public.

On Friday, March 18, free parking is available in Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center and on Saturday, March 19, free parking is available in Lots P1 and P2 near the Smittcamp Alumni House (enter at Maple and Shaw and enter the first parking area to the right).

For more information about the Conference please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at


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