LOS ANGELES–The Armenian Graduate Students Association at UCLA will be conducting its eighth annual Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies at UCLA on Friday, February 19, 2010. This day-long academic event is open to the public and will begin at 9:30 a.m. It will be held in the famous Royce Hall, room 314.
This year, the organizing committee has set out to continue the fine tradition that began in 2003 with the launching of the first-ever international colloquium in Armenian Studies developed specifically for graduate students by graduate students. UCLA, a premier institution in the growing field of Armenology and a leader in interdisciplinary studies, is hosting this event to further foster the development of Armenian Studies, facilitate interaction between graduate students and faculty from various institutions, provide a medium for the exchange of ideas, and contribute to the professional and academic advancement of graduate students.
Papers from multiple fields will be presented, including history, linguistics, comparative literature, theology, anthropology, and art history. Presenters are graduate students coming from universities and countries all around the world including University of Michigan, MIT, Bilkent University in Ankara, Polish Academy of Sciences, Yerevan State University, Yerevan Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, University of Pisa, California State University, Northridge and Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.
This year, the organizing committee was led by Doris Melkonian, a doctoral student in Social Research Methodology in Education. She was joined by a number of graduate students, as well as faculty advisor Dr. Peter Cowe. Graduate students from across many disciplines were responsible for the individual aspects of planning the event. This ranged from financing to program scheduling, facilities and refreshments to travel and accommodations, as well as both academic and media public relations. Armenian Studies at UCLA began in 1960.
The discipline was augmented in 1962 with the appointment of Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian, current holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History. In 1965, language and literature was established on a permanent footing with the arrival of Dr. Avedis K. Sanjian, who guided the expansion of this area over the next three decades. The Narekatsi Chair, founded in 1969 through the efforts of National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, has the distinction of being the oldest endowed chair at UCLA.
The first chair-holder was Dr. Sanjian and in July 2000 Dr. S. Peter Cowe was appointed as successor. Since 1997 regular instruction in East Armenian has complemented teaching in West Armenian: currently Dr. Anahid Keshishian is lecturer in the former and Dr. Hagop Kouloujian in the latter. In 1998, Armenian Studies was officially recognized as an undergraduate minor and currently proposals are underway to institute the major. The Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies is yet another step in the development of the rich tradition of Armenian Studies at UCLA.
Organized by graduate students, for graduate students, it provides an opportunity for students to actively and significantly contribute to the academic environment on campus. The colloquium is made possible, in part, by the financial contributions from the Friends of the UCLA Narekatsi Chair of Armenian Language and Culture Studies, the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, and the departments of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Art History at UCLA. The committee also received financial support from the Campus Programs Committee of the Program Activities Board. The event is free of charge and open to the public.