University of Michigan-Dearborn to Host Conference on ‘Armenians and the Cold War’

 

Thirty scholars from North and South America, Europe, and Armenia will participate in the conference.
Thirty scholars from North and South America, Europe, and Armenia will participate in the conference.

DEARBORN, Mich.—The Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn will host an unprecedented, multi-disciplinary, international academic conference on “Armenians and the Cold War” on the university’s campus from April 1-3. Thirty scholars from North and South America, Europe, and Armenia will participate in the conference.

On the international arena, the Cold War extended from the end of Word War II in 1945 to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Armenians around the world, however, had become divided between pro- and anti-Soviet factions as soon as Communists had gotten hold of Eastern Armenia in late 1920’s. The first panel of the conference (featuring speakers Garabet K. Moumdjian, Vahe Sahakyan, and Hazel Antaramian Hofman) will focus on the period from the 1920’s to 1947, and will attempt to explain the political dynamics among Armenians, especially in the diaspora, before the rest of the world formally entered the Cold War era. Discussions during this panel will constitute an important step toward finding out what exactly changed in the Armenian Diaspora and in the relations between the Soviet Armenian homeland and the diaspora with the onset of the global Cold War in the mid-1940’s.

The Cold War inevitably affected the Armenians, not only in Soviet Armenia, but also in the many Armenian communities scattered across the world. This time period will be discussed at the conference through a series of regional panels: Levon Chorbajian, Gregory Aftandilian, and Benjamin F. Alexander will focus on North America. Jirair Jolakian and Astrig Atamian will present papers on conditions among the Armenians in France. Developments in South America will be covered through presentations by Vartan Matiossian, Heitor Loureiro, and Khatchik DerGhougassian. Furthermore, there will be five separate papers on the Armenian communities in the Middle East by Hratch Tchilingirian, James Stocker, Khatchig Mouradian, Eldad Ben-Aharon, and Emre Can Dağlıoğlu. These panels are structured in such a way so as to generate discussion on comparing the specifics of the Cold War fault-lines in various Armenian-inhabited localities and determining the differences in Cold-War-era, intra-Armenian conflict and rivalry from one continent to another. There will also be a separate panel on relations between Soviet Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora during this period (speakers: Nélida Boulgourdjian and Gevorg Petrosyan). A roundtable discussion comparing the chronologies of the global Cold War and the Armenian “Cold War” will cap the political history debate at the conference.

The last two panels will deal with case studies of the impact of the Cold War on Armenian historiography (speakers: Samvel Grigoryan and Anush Hovhannisyan), arts (Neery Melkonian), and popular culture (Tigran Matosyan). Thereafter, the conference will conclude with a second roundtable discussion that will tackle the legacy of the Cold War on Armenians today and make recommendations for future research in this domain.

Panel chairs and discussants also include Cam Amin, Kevork Bardakjian, Tamar Boyadjian, Richard G. Hovannisian, Asbed Kotchikian, Simon Payaslian, Pam Pennock, Ara Sanjian, and Sally Howell.

The goal of the conference organizers is to shed light and encourage further research on a pivotal period in modern Armenian history, the study of which is still in its infancy. By approaching the topic from various angles and disciplines, they hope that this gathering will encourage others to delve into the details of Armenian history in the Cold War era. Moreover, themes like the impact of the Cold War on Armenian literature, migration to and from Soviet Armenia, or the involvement of individual Armenians in espionage on both sides of the international political divide of the Cold War era should also be tackled in the near future. These topics were among those listed in the conference’s call for papers, but the organizers did not receive any proposals.

The conference, which is open to the public, is being supported by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR); the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is providing assistance to participants from Armenia. The Armenian Review will devote a special issue to academic articles based on the papers to be delivered at this conference.

The Armenian Research Center was established by Dr. Dennis R. Papazian in 1985, with financial support from the Knights of Vartan organization and particularly from the late Edward and Helen Mardigian. It remains devoted to documentation, research, and publications in the field of Armenian Studies.

For details, contact Gerald E. Ottenbreit, Jr. by calling (313) 593-5181 or e-mailing gottenbr@umich.edu. The full program of the conference is provided below.

 

Full Program

 

Friday, April 1, 2016

5:00-6:30 p.m.

Meet & Greet with the participants of the conference

 

6:30-7:00 p.m.

Words of Welcome

University of Michigan-Dearborn administration

Asbed Kotchikian, The Armenian Review

Gregory Aftandilian, National Association for Armenian Studies & Research

 

7:00-7:30 p.m.

Conference Introduction

Ara Sanjian, University of Michigan-Dearborn, ‘Why This Conference?’

 

7:30-9:30 p.m.

Panel I: An Armenian “Cold War” before the Global Cold War?

Chair: Cam Amin, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Garabet K. Moumdjian, independent historian, Pasadena, Calif., “ARF Collusion in the Kurdish Rebellions of the 1920’s and 1930’s in Republican Turkey: In Search of the Origins of Islamized Armenians in Turkey”

Vahe Sahakyan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Negotiating Politics in a Time of Crisis: The Changing Course of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation During WWII and its Aftermath (1941-1947)”

Hazel Antaramian-Hofman, Fresno Community College, “Missing Ethnographic Opportunities: Post-World War II American-Armenian Repatriation to Soviet Armenia, 1947-1956”

Discussant: Astrig Atamian, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris

 

Saturday, April 2, 2016
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Panel II: Armenian Americans in the 1950’s

Chair: Pam Pennock, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Levon Chorbajian, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, “Roily Exchanges: Newspaper Wars at the Hairenik Weekly and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator in 1951”

Gregory Aftandilian, American University, Washington, D.C., “The Cold War Writings of Reuben Darbinian in the Armenian Review”

Benjamin F. Alexander, New York City College of Technology (CUNY), “The Cold Wars of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation”

Discussant: Khatchik DerGhougassian, Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina

 

12:00-12:15 p.m.

Coffee Break

 

12:15-1:30 p.m.

Panel III: The Armenian “Cold War” in France

Chair: Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, and Adjunct Professor of History, University of Southern California

Jirair Jolakian, Nor Haratch, Paris, “The Cold War in the Pages of the Newspaper Haratch”

Astrig Atamian, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, “Between Soviet Armenia and the French Communist Party, the ‘Garmir’ Movement in France”

Discussant: Asbed Kotchikian, Bentley University

 

1:30-3:00

Lunch

 

3:00-5:00 p.m.

Panel IV: The Armenian “Cold War” in South America

Chair: Kevork Bardakjian, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Vartan Matiossian, Armenian National Education Committee, New York, “Fighting for History: An Unknown Polemics in the Beginnings of the Cold War”

Heitor Loureiro, São Paulo State University (UNESP), “Communism in the Armenian Community in São Paulo and Repression by the Political Police”

Khatchik DerGhougassian, Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina, “The Diffusion of the Cold War in the (Southern) Periphery of the Armenian Diaspora: The Pro/Against Soviet Divide in the Argentine-Armenian Community 1947-1987”

Discussant: Simon Payaslian, Boston University

 

5:00-5:15 p.m.

Coffee Break

 

5:15-6:30 p.m.

Panel V: Armenians: Between a Soviet Homeland and the Diaspora

Chair: Anush Hovhannisyan, Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia

Nélida Boulgourdjian, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina, “Background of Soviet Policy Toward the Armenian Diaspora in the Early Cold War: The Case of the Armenian Diaspora in France and Argentina (1930-1950)”

Gevorg Petrosyan, Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia, “The Impact of the Cold War and Turkish-Soviet Relations on Armenians in Turkey and Their Relations with Soviet Armenia (1945-1964)”

Discussant: Eldad Ben-Aharon, Royal Holloway, University of London

 

6:30-9:00 p.m.

Reception to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Research Center

 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Panel VI: The Armenian “Cold War” in the Arab World from 1945 to 1970

Chair: Levon Chorbajian, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Hratch Tchilingirian, University of Oxford, “The Armenian Church During the Cold War Era and the Chasm Between Ejmiatsin and Antelias”

James Stocker, Trinity Washington University, “An Opportunity to Strike a Blow? The United States and the Struggle in the Armenian Apostolic Church, 1956-1963”

Khatchig Mouradian, Rutgers University, “The Cold War of Genocide: April 24 Editorials in the Lebanese-Armenian Party Political Press, 1945-1970”

Discussant: Benjamin F. Alexander, New York City College of Technology (CUNY)

 

12:00-12:15 p.m.

Coffee Break

 

12:15-1:00 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion I: The Chronologies of Global Cold War and the Armenian “Cold War” Compared

Opening remarks: Ara Sanjian, University of Michigan-Dearborn

 

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Lunch

 

2:30-3:45 p.m.

Panel VII: The Middle East in the 1970’s and 1980’s: The Era of ASALA and JCAG

Chair: Nélida Boulgourdjian, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina

Eldad Ben Aharon, Royal Holloway, University of London, “The Cold War and Mid-East Political Violence: An Israeli-American-Turkish Alliance?”

Emre Can Dağlıoğlu, Clark University, “Re-Shaped Identity of Armenians in Turkey under the Conditions of the Cold War”

Discussant: Vahe Sahakyan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

 

3:45-4:00 p.m.

Coffee Break

 

4:00-5:15

Panel VIII: Soviet Armenian Historiography and the Cold War

Chair: Tamar Boyadjian, Michigan State University

Samvel Grigoryan, independent historian, Moscow, “T‘agawor, Korol‘ or Czar: The Impact of Soviet-Western Relations on the Historiography of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia”

Anush Hovhannisyan, Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia, “Remembering the Genocide in Soviet Armenia During the Cold War Era: ‘Private Stories’”

Discussant: Richard G. Hovannisian, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, and Adjunct Professor of History, University of Southern California

 

5:15-5:30

Coffee Break

 

5:30-6:45

Panel IX: Arts and Popular Culture during the Armenian “Cold War”

Panel chair: Sally Howell, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Neery Melkonian, independent researcher, critic, and curator, New York City, “A Third Space: Armenian Diaspora Artists and the Cold War”

Tigran Matosyan, American University of Armenia, “Sheepskin Vests in Yerevan: The Story of Soviet Armenian Hippies”

Discussant: Kevork Bardakjian, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

 

6:45-7:00

Coffee Break

 

7:00-8:00

Roundtable II: The Legacy of the Armenian “Cold War” Today; Recommendations for Future Research

Opening remarks: Hratch Tchilingirian, University of Oxford

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