Armenian Diaspora Survey Launches Pilot Study in Boston Area

ARLINGTON, Mass.—The Armenian Diaspora Survey (ADS) is set to begin a pilot study, exploring the many connections tying Armenian communities and individuals to each other around the globe. The project begins in Boston on May 17, with presentations by the team of researchers and pilot study leader, Dr. Susan Pattie, at the Armenian Cultural Foundation (441 Mystic Street, Arlington, Mass. 02474-1108).

All are welcome and the team will also explain ways in which volunteers will be able to help with interviewing, distributing questionnaires, photography, and other ways in which we can find out how Armenians in the Boston area think about identity and belonging in the 21st century.

Important changes have taken place around the Armenian Diaspora over the last decades and continue today but as yet, we have no large-scale study of the Armenian diaspora. The ADS begins with a pilot study phase with teams of experienced researchers also visiting Marseilles, Cairo, and Pasadena in order to test the tools the survey is using in different environments. In each place, the teams will use questionnaires, interviews, observation, photography, and video to question and record the views and concerns of people who identify themselves as Armenians.

Funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and administered by the Armenian Institute, London, the ADS aims to record the views of people who are active in these communities but also seeks the perspectives of people who may feel more marginal. The Survey explores different ways of belonging within the diaspora and also the connections between the diaspora and the Republic of Armenia and/or other forms of homeland, such as towns and villages in historic Armenia. Within this context, the ADS also gathers information on different national contexts, how it feels to be an Armenian in, for example, France or America or Egypt, and how one becomes French, American, or Egyptian as well as Armenian.

 

Timeline 

The ADS began in March 2017 with a meeting of researchers involved in studying Armenians, migration, and diaspora. In Sept. 2017, the pilot study began to take shape under the leadership of Dr. Susan Pattie, working with Leon Aslanov as research assistant. With the regular assistance of the Advisory Committee, the ADS has developed a questionnaire and a list of open-ended questions to be used for interviews. Leon Aslanov is also creating an extensive and annotated bibliography of works about Armenians in different diaspora communities, primarily in the social sciences.

Visits to the four sites, Pasadena, Boston, Marseilles, and Cairo, will take place over four weeks. Following data collection, the material will be archived and made available to scholars and researchers. The teams will also evaluate the entire process in order to move beyond the pilot study and begin further work around the diaspora. The pilot program is expected to be finished in early autumn 2018.

 

Possible Outputs

In this first stage of the pilot study, we expect to achieve the following useful results:

  • The creation of an extensive bibliography of works about Armenian communities around the world, including doctoral theses, journalistic articles, scholarly works, etc. Thus far, the works listed are in English, East and West Armenian, French and Russian. The creation of the bibliography will continue in other languages and will be updated constantly.
  • A well-organized and accessible archive of data, available to scholars and researchers.
  • Articles discussing the findings of the pilot program. These will appear on the ADS website but also in scholarly journals, newspapers, popular journals.
  • A variety of other media including photo essays, short videos, exhibitions, and presentations.
  • The hope that each four-week visit will end with a presentation for the community, sharing some of the initial findings, as well as the visual work done by the research team and volunteers together.

For further information please contact Dr. Susan Pattie or Leon Aslanov armeniandiasporasurvey@gmail.com.

After May 14, there will be information online about the Armenian Diaspora Survey. Please visit www.armenianinstitute.org.uk , click on projects and then click on the Armenian Diaspora Survey.

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