Professor Seta B. Dadoyan recently published her latest book, titled “Encounters and Convergences. A Book of Ideas and Art.”
An amalgam of philosophy and art, the book is an oeuvre in form and content, and as such, a statement about the author’s scholarly, aesthetic, and intellectual endeavors in general. Opposed to conventional and “strictly academic” practices, the opus is also an illustrated argument in favor of critical vantage points and interdisciplinary approaches. Dadoyan strongly posits the basic commonality and unity of the humanities, the arts and the social sciences, including Armenian Studies in particular. Since artworks and texts are responses to circumstances, and their motives and objectives are understanding human “situatedness” and debating the social-historical conditions, then their social embeddedness is common ground.
Similar to her over ten books and many studies in the history of the Armenian experience in the Near East, philosophy, and art history, this opus in turn is self-reflective in conception, cross-disciplinary in scope, dialectical in method, hermeneutical in approach, and in this case, artistic in expression. The accumulation of almost sixty “wartime” drawings, and half that number on “the spirit of matter,” two phases separated by an interval of rigorous academic work over three decades, establishes the legitimacy of her criteria for the “truth-content” as the meaning of both writings and artworks. Since both happened in phases and in response to specific circumstances, Part Two of the book is structured on a schematic autobiographical grid.
The book consists of 175 large pages. Its contents may be summarized as follows: the “Prologue on Scholarship and the Arts” introduces the subject; Part One in five chapters, entitled “My Aesthetic,” provides the theoretical-critical context by brief discussions of aesthetic theories through art history and the contemporary situation of the arts and mass cultures; Part Two, “The Quest and the Path” is in four chapters, “The Prelude” (10 works in color illustrations), “Encounters with Strife and Suffering” (seven works in full page illustrations), “Wartime Art and Aesthetic” (44 works in full page illustrations), “Of the Spirit of Matter” (28 works in full page illustrations). The “Epilogue” concludes the book, culminating with an Appendix: “Content with List of Illustrations.”