Call for Papers: Fifth Annual International Graduate Student Workshop

Armenia and Diaspora 1918-2013
Fifth Annual International Graduate Student Workshop

Armenian Studies Program
April 4-5, 2014
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Deadline for submission of abstracts: December 16, 2013

The proliferation of studies in international migration, transnationalism and diasporas over the past three decades has raised a number of questions, prompting scholars to significantly reconsider former essentialist approaches to communities and identities. If earlier scholars of Armenian studies have often treated the Armenian diaspora as a collection of independent, self-sufficient communities, limiting their studies to mostly descriptive observations, a new generation of scholars has focused on the diversity, flexibility and context-dependence of diasporic communities, individual lives and identities, as well as on investigating the changing roles and impacts of homelands and homeland-diaspora relations on the ways in which diasporas function.

The 1915 genocide of the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire resulted in an outflow of refugees and survivors; this, combined with the independence acquired on a small piece of the Armenian homeland in 1918, the Sovietization of Armenia in 1920, and the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, created the conditions in which modern and contemporary Armenian diasporas have functioned, embedded in a new era in the history of Armenians. The nature of Armenian diasporic communities, the agendas of diasporic institutions, varying perceptions of the Armenian homeland and the republics of Armenia, intracommunal identities, conflicts and cooperation, and other elements of Armenian diasporic life took shape after the post-Lausanne disappointment, under the influence of changing conditions in host countries and a complex international political context. Conceptions of what diasporas and diasporic identities are, and how they should function, developed heterogeneously in specific diasporic communities, in the homeland, and, more recently, in diaspora studies. This workshop will be dedicated to exploring the competing and sometimes conflicting conceptions of how the Armenian diaspora, with its various communities and identities, has functioned and is functioning in the challenging transnational environment of modernity and globalization as well as in relation to the transformations of the homeland.

This workshop on Armenia and Diaspora 1918-2013 is sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Armenian Studies Program and is organized by Vahe Sahakyan, a graduate student in that Program with faculty advisors, Professors Kevork Bardakjian (University of Michigan) and Khachig Tölölyan (Wesleyan University), and seeks to bring together younger scholars (graduate students engaged in research or those who defended their dissertations in the last three years) who work on diasporas within a variety of disciplines. Emphasizing an interdisciplinary and connected approach, among other themes, we invite submissions that address the following issues (along with others of equal relevance):

Perceptions and representations of the lost homeland, the three post-1918 Republics of Armenia in post-genocide diasporic discourse. Perceptions and representations of the Armenian diaspora in Soviet Armenia (under Stalin and in the post-Stalinist period) and in the Republic of Armenia;

Diasporic institutions and organizations and their relations with Soviet Armenia under Stalin, during WWII and the years of the Cold War;

The 1948 Genocide Convention and its impact on Armenian diasporic institutions and their policies;

Host country conditions, institutions- and community-building in the diaspora (the role of churches, whether Apostolic, Evangelical, Catholic, political parties, charitable organizations, compatriotic unions and comparable organizations);

Host countries, transnational migrations, and the Armenian diaspora; the ‘locals’ and the ‘newcomers’ within the Armenian diaspora;

Education, diasporic identities and identity politics in the Armenian diaspora: agents of diasporic identity formation.

Successful applicants will need to submit a paper of no more than 20 double-spaced pages by March 3, 2014 to be circulated among workshop participants. Please send an Abstract (250 words /single spaced) along with a CV to armdiaspora@umich.edu by December 16, 2013.

Some funds are available to cover travel expenses. Per donor guidelines, preference will be given to those traveling from the Republic of Armenia.

Armenian Studies Program
University of Michigan
1080 South University Ave., Suite 3633
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
USA