Rutgers to Offer Course on Nagorno-Karabagh

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—A course entitled “Conflicts in the Caucusus: Ethnic Separatist Movements in Comparative Perspective” will be offered this coming fall at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The course will provide an overview to ethnic and separatist conflicts in Abkhazia, Chechnya, Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabagh, with Karabagh used as a case study and primary focus of the course. The course will be offered on Monday evenings from 6:10-9 p.m. on the College Avenue campus.

John Antranig Kasbarian, who holds a Ph.D. in geography from Rutgers, will instruct the course. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the geography of nationalism during the recent war in Karabagh, based in large part on his own experiences on the ground. The work is entitled “We Are Our Mountains: The Geography of Nationalism in the Armenian Self-Determination Movement, Nagorno-Karabakh: 1988-98.” Kasbarian has published widely on Karabagh in both academic journals and the press. A former journalist, he is active in Armenian affairs and currently works as development director for the New York-based Tufenkian Foundation, supervising activities in Karabagh that focus on small business development, economic recovery programs, and refugee resettlement.

“We are delighted to have such a course offered at the State University of New Jersey. It gives us great satisfaction to expand the breadth of courses offered through our program, which has promoted Armenian culture and history for the past 25 years at Rutgers,” said James Sahagian, chairperson of the Committee for Armenian Studies at Rutgers. “Professor Kasbarian combines both his knowledge and passion for the region, all while being an articulate and talented lecturer,” he said.

On April 16, Kasbarian led a seminar providing an overview of the course, which was well received. The seminar was attended by students as well as alumni and supporters of the Rutgers University Armenian Studies Program.

The course is being sponsored by the Rutgers University Armenian Studies Program, through the generous support of benefactors G. Haig and Nadine Ariyan. Their donation was given in memory of Haig’s childhood friend, Peter Edward Mardikian, who died in the September 11 World Trade Center attack. Peter was just 29 years old, and married for only six weeks, when the tragedy occurred; he was getting ready to present at a technology and financial trade show at Windows On the World, the 106th floor of the World Trade Center. Peter’s mother, Shakeh “Jackie” Mardikian, has been working as a medical librarian at Rutgers’ Library of Science and Medicine since 1991.

For more information, call (201) 739-0901 or email

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