Boston University to Host International Symposium on the First Republic of Armenia

BOSTON–Boston University will host an international symposium on the “Legacy of the First Republic of Armenia, 1918-1921” on September 27, 2008. The conference will probe the long-term impact of the Republic on the Armenian people both in Armenia and the Diaspora.

The conference is sponsored by the Charles K. and Elisabeth M. Kenosian Chair in Modern Armenian History and Literature at Boston University and is co-sponsored by BU’s International History Institute, the Department of History, and the Department of International Relations, and by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Professor Simon Payaslian, Holder of the Kenosian Chair, commented that this conference is a celebration of the ninetieth anniversary of the re-emergence of Armenian statehood in 1918 as well as the Republic’s independence after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. This conference brings together some of the best scholars with different perspectives to share their analyses with the public.

The speakers in the morning session (10:00am-12:00 noon)–in addition to the opening remarks by Professor Payaslian–are Professor Erik Goldstein, Chair of the Department of International Relations at Boston University; Professor Ara Sanjian, University of Michigan-Dearborn; and Dr. Victoria Rowe, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom.

Professor Erik Goldstein will present a paper, titled “Great Britain and the Re-Emergence of Armenian Statehood,” which discusses the British fascination with and involvement in the Eastern Christians, how British engagement in the region became a popular cause. The paper then focuses on the extent to which the pro-Armenian groups in the British government influenced foreign policy in the First World War, and finally why British support for the Republic collapsed.

Professor Ara Sanjian, Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn since 2006, will present a paper titled “Continuing the All-Russian Revolution of February 1917: The Challenge of Land Reform.” His talk covers the attempts to introduce land reform in Eastern Armenia from 1917 to 1920, during the periods of rule by the Provisional Government in Petrograd, the Transcaucasian Federation, and the Republic of Armenia. The paper sheds light on social and economic program of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. It also examines the approaches of the other political parties active among the Armenia’s in Transcaucasia.

Dr. Victoria Rowe (University of Greenwich, United Kingdom) will present a paper titled “Women as Political Actors in the First Republic of Armenia and in the Creation of International Networks of Refugee Relief, 1918-1925.” Her paper examines the political status of Armenian women in the first Republic of Armenia and activism by women on behalf of the Republic at the League of Nations. She then discusses the resulting legacy of political participation of women in the Armenian Diaspora.

Dr. Razmik Panossian will present a paper titled “The Impact of the First Republic on Armenian Identity in the 20th Century.” His paper explores the extent to which the first Republic shaped subsequent Armenian political thought both in Soviet Armenia and in the Armenian Diasporan communities.

Dr. Robert Owen Krikorian will present a paper titled “The Legacy of the First Independent Republic of Armenia and the Collapse of Soviet Power.” His study explores the historical paradigm shift which occurred in Soviet Armenia during the democratic movement and analyzes the competing historical narratives and their political implications in Armenia as the Soviet era approached its end.


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