LOS ANGELES—Two volumes, Armenian Van and Armenian Bitlis & Mush, have been released in Turkish translation by Aras Publishers in Istanbul. Both volumes, edited by Richard G. Hovannisian, are from the UCLA international conference series “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” begun by Professor Hovannisian in 1997. The first conference focused on Armenian Van/Vaspurakan (first published in English by Mazda Publishers in 2000), followed in 1998 by the second conference on Armenian Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush (published in 2001). Aras Publishers plans to translate into Turkish all fourteen volumes in the UCLA series, the most recent of which was released in 2016 by Mazda Publishers under the title, Armenian Communities of the Northeastern Mediterranean: Musa Dagh—Dört-Yol—Kessab.
Contributors to the Van and Bitlis-Mush volumes discuss the political geography and dynastic history and culture of the two regions from antiquity to the twentieth century, their art and architecture, classical historians and colophons, interactions with foreign powers, tribulations under Ottoman rule, role in Armenian liberation movements, fate during the Armenian Genocide and self-defense in World War I, and their presence in modern literature.
The two volumes were released to the public in Istanbul on November 9-10, 2016, during an international conference on Van sponsored by the Hrant Dink Foundation. During his keynote address, Professor Hovannisian reflected on growing up in the San Joaquin Valley of California among the immigrants and survivors from Van, Bitlis, and Mush. He then assessed the multifaceted information and insights gained from the 70 oral history interviews that he and his students at UCLA conducted with natives of the city and numerous villages of the province of Van.
Aras Publishers is currently translating the third volume in the UCLA series, Armenian Tsopk/Kharpert.
Hovannisian on the Road
Professor Hovannisian continued his active schedule in the Fall of 2016. Arriving from Istanbul to Boston on November 12, he was honored, along with Professor Nina Garsoian, for his contributions as a pioneer of Armenian studies in the United States at the 60th anniversary gala of the National Association for the Advancement of Armenian Studies (NAASR). On November 19, he spoke at the Kessab Educational Association’s annual “Perpoor” night hosted by Dr. & Mrs. George Apelian in Thousand Oaks.
With daughter Ani Hovannisian Kevorkian, he was in Stockholm, Sweden on November 26-27 at the invitation of the Federation of Armenian Associations to present his most recent volume on the Northeastern Mediterranean communities, with short film segments by Ani. They then traveled to Oslo for an evening with the small but active Armenian Cultural Association of Norway. On December 8, Hovannisian spoke in Chicago under the auspices of the AGBU, Armenian Bar Association, and Armenian International Women’s Association.
Presentations continue in early 2017 with lectures at Abril Bookstore in Glendale, in cooperation with the Chork-Marzban (Dort-Yol) Compatriotic Union on January 26, Fresno State University on January 27, South Florida University and Sourp Hagop Church in Tampa, February 13-15, several presentations in Beirut and Cairo, February 23-March 4, and the Armenian Institute in London on March 18.
Richard Hovannisian is Past Holder of the AEF Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA and currently an Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Southern California, working with the Shoah Foundation to ensure the proper transcription, translation and incorporation of the Armenian Genocide survivor interviews of the Armenian Film Foundation into the Shoah archives. He also serves as President’s Fellow at Chapman University in Orange, California, to participate in Armenian-related teaching and programs under the auspices of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education.