Prof. Armen T. Marsoobian appointed the Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor at Columbia University

Prof. Amen T. Marsoobian

Prof. Amen T. Marsoobian has been appointed the Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University for the spring of 2022. Prof. Marsoobian will be teaching a course entitled “The Resilience of Memory: the  Armenian Genocide.” This course will explore the forms of memory resilience, such as words (in the form of poetry, memoir, drama, fiction) and images (in the form of photography, film, painting) used to combat the forgetting and the denial of genocidal crimes.

Armenians began a process of reflective resistance against their cultural loss in the decades after 1915. Yet it took another generation for artists and writers to foreground this resistance in their creative output. In parallel to the Jewish response to the Holocaust, the 1960s and 70s saw the awakening of an Armenian public response to the Genocide. Along with memorialization and demands for justice, a heightened critical reflection on the meaning of loss took place. Historical studies of the Genocide multiplied adding to an understanding of the nature of the violence. Alongside such scholarship, the broader discipline of memory studies immeasurably added to our understanding. The study of Holocaust memory will help us understand the Armenian resilience of memory. The art and literature explored will be supplemented by dialogue (in-person or virtually) with writers and artists whose works of resistance continue to be created today.

This seminar style course (MDES GU4328, Call # 16818) will be taught on Mondays from 12:10 pm – 2:00 pm and is open to auditors as well as matriculating students. Registration for auditors begins January 10 – 14; classes begin January 24. The tuition for auditors is $2,400 and for lifelong learners (those aged 65 and over) is $750. Registration for auditors and lifelong learners may be done online. For enrollment help, please call (212) 854-9666. Classes will be held in-person. The building and room location will be announced in January.

Prof. Marsoobian is professor of philosophy at Southern Connecticut State University and an Affiliated Faculty of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, as well as a previous Ordjanian Visiting Professor at Columbia. He is editor-in-chief of Metaphilosophy and has co-edited seven books, including Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Genocide and Memory (2018), Criticism and Compassion: The Ethics and Politics of Claudia Card (2018), and Genocide’s Aftermath: Responsibility and Repair (2017). He serves as first vice president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

The Ordjanian Visiting Professorship program at Columbia is made possible by an endowment established by the late Dr. Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian in 1988. Previous Ordjanian Visiting Professors have included Levon Abrahamian, Vardan Azatyan, Peter Balakian, Melissa Bilal, the late George Bournoutian, Seta Dadoyan, Helen Evans, Roberta Ervine, Rachel Goshgarian, Arman Grigoryan, the late Robert Hewsen, Khatchig Mouradian, Ara Sarafian and Khachig Tololyan.

The Ordjanian Visiting Professorship is one of several programs of the Armenian Center at Columbia, the organization that raised the initial funds to establish the Avedissian Chair of Armenian Studies at Columbia in 1979 and which continues to provide funds for scholarships, library acquisitions, academic publications, the Anahid Literary Award, lectures, conferences and symposia.

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