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HomeArmenian Diaspora(s) in Motion

Armenian Diaspora(s) in Motion

Places, Stakeholders and Practices in the 21st Century

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Published on Monday, February 05, 2024

Abstract

This 2-day international colloquium which will take place at Campus Condorcet (Aubervilliers) will bring together scholars, from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, who observe Armenian diasporic dynamics in the 21st century. The event will provide an opportunity to compare views and examine the contemporary reshapings of the Armenian dispersion, which, 40 years after the emergence of diaspora studies, has undergone numerous spatial, structural, social, political, economic and cultural changes.

Announcement

Argument

Since diaspora studies emerged in the 1980s, the Armenian dispersion has played a prominent role in the scholarly literature seeking to understand and classify the nature, forms, and effects of diasporas as social formations.

Although the notion of diaspora is multifaceted – changing based on the cases observed, criteria retained, disciplinary fields, and its dissemination and use by various actors (Hovanessian, 1998; Brubaker, 2005; Dufoix, 2011) – the Armenian experience, along with the Greek and Jewish cases, is widely discussed in works attempting to establish typologies of uprooted communities (Cohen, 1997, 2008; Bruneau, 1995, 2022; Sheffer, 2003; Tölölyan, 1996) as well as in the efforts to compare the diasporas considered paradigmatic (Bruneau et al., 2007; Hovannisian and Myers, 1999).

Among the criteria associated with the Armenian case, the longevity of the dispersion (Bruneau, 2007; Tölölyan, 2005; Panossian, 2006), the link with an ancestral land (Safran, 1991), and the vitality of an active minority that relies on old and conservative institutions (Ter Minassian, 1997; Tölölyan, 2000) are often cited. They help maintain transnational networks and nurture an “imagined community”, as well as a wished-for cohesion, especially in moments of converging mobilizations (Tölölyan, 1996).

However, 40 years after the rise of diaspora studies, one has to admit that far from offering a stable paradigm, the Armenian diaspora (an expression that should be used in the plural) has undergone numerous transformations. This is partly due to the ebb and flow of geopolitics, new technological developments, and socio-economic changes in the historical centers of the Armenian presence.

With the end of the Soviet Union, new types of migration surfaced. Emigration from the Republic of Armenia – often perceived, justly or unjustly, as a “bleeding wound” – has profoundly changed the face of the diaspora. What is more, the last three decades have seen intensified processes of permanent or temporary “return” migration, reshaping the diaspora, Armenia, the ties between them, and leading to new modes of life in-between. By the same token, new communities have sprung up in places that were not traditional Armenian settlements. Conversely, regions that had been home to genocide refugees and their descendants, and that had grown into full-blown epicenters of the “Armenian transnation”, have gradually or abruptly been emptied of their Armenian population in the wake of political crises, wars (Iraq, Syria) and economic instability (Lebanon). Such recent developments call for a reassessment of the notions of homeland(s), home(s) and belonging(s) (Kasbarian, 2015 and 2020; Darieva, 2011).

Similarly, territories with a long-standing Armenian presence, dating back to the 1920s (France, Belgium) or even the end of the 19th century (United States), have witnessed the arrival of new cohorts of Armenian immigrants hailing from new regions (Armenia, the Caucasus, and Russia after the end of the USSR, Syria after 2011), with heterogeneous socio-economic profiles. The settlement of these newly-arrived co-ethnics has paved the way for an ethno-cultural “replenishment” (Jimenez, 2010), revitalizing traditional community structures (schools, media, religious and political organizations, etc.). However, it has also given rise to new problems and questions at the individual and institutional levels, reshaping existing diasporic dynamics and leading to intra-group conflict, competition, mutual ignorance, or defiance, as noted by observers and stakeholders of the Armenian diaspora (Panossian, 1998; Mekdjian, 2007; Cavoukian, 2021; Der Sarkissian, 2021).

While new diasporic communities are emerging, the historical loci of Armenian presence have lost their institutional resources and experienced new forms of member dispersal, fueling a declinist discourse centered on the haunting theme of “identity dilution” (Hovanessian, 2007). Simultaneously, voices that had previously been absent, ignored or imperceptible are gaining momentum, renewing the agenda of “ethno-political entrepreneurs” (Brubaker, 2004), and reinventing the repertoire of diasporic mobilization, which can take the form of aid and support for the disputed region of Karabagh, and can sometimes challenge or undermine traditional community structures, actors, and practices.

The objective of this 2-day conference will be to reflect on these contemporary reshapings of the Armenian diaspora(s), revealing their diversity and the new dynamics at work.

Programme

March 14, 2024

10:30 am : Opening remarks by organizers 

10:45 am

Panel 1: Armenian diaspora(s): from modles to dynamics

  • Simon PAYASLIAN (Boston University, USA): “Nationalism and the Pathologization of Diasporic Existence:The Thanatology of the Armenian Diaspora”
  • Aleksandr V. GEVORKYAN (St John’s University, USA): “Diaspora’s uneasy social and economic relationship with  Armenia since independence or why history, culture, trust,  and engagement infrastructure matter: a survey-based  analysis”
  • Vahe SAHAKYAN (University of Michigan-Dearborn, USA): “Transcultural Armenianness: Diasporic Localism and Impersonal Transnationalism” 

Discussant(s): Khachig Tölölyan (Wesleyan, USA) / Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine, USA)

2:00 pm

Panel 2: Old centers and new trends: diasporas in the (un)making

  • Gohar ISKANDERYAN (National Academy of Sciences, Armenia): “Shrinking Iranian Armenian community and its reasons”
  • Arman KHACHATRYAN (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel and Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenia ): “The Armenians of Israel: New Actors in the Old Diaspora”
  • Carlos ANTARAMIAN (El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico): “The revitalization of the Armenian community in Mexico”
  • Annika TÖRNE (Basel University, Switzerland) & Zadig TISSERAND (IEP Paris, France): “Brothers in Arms, Brothers in Spirit: The Diasporization of the Armenians in Karabakh on the example of the Hamshen Armenians in Abkhazia” 

Discussant: Stéphane de Tapia (University of Strasbourg, France)

4:30 pm

Panel 3: Returning diasporas and forms of diasporic returns

  • Nvard  MELKONYAN (Yerevan State University, Armenia): “Pull-push factors for the return of Armenians from Russia and Ukraine to their homeland: relocation or a new wave of repatriation” 
  • Konrad SIEKIERSKI (King’s College London, UK): “En Route to the Roots: Armenian Pilgrimage to the Lost Homeland”
  • Cécile LEFĖVRE (Université de Paris, France), Sophie HOHMANN (Inalco, France), Alice BOCCARA (Rennes 2 University, France): « Jeunesses des diasporas arméniennes : entre Arménie réelle, rêvée, rejetée »

Discussants: Boris Adjemian (AGBU Nubar library, CRH-EHESS, ICM) & Anouche Der Sarkissian (Sorbonne Nouvelle, CREW, ICM)

March 15, 2024

10:00 am

Panel 4: (In)visible diaspora agents

  • Talinn GRIGOR (University of California, Davis, USA): “Of Feminist Interventions in Irano-Armenian Diaspora-in-Motion: Suitcase Objects as Depository”
  • Houri BERBERIAN (University of California, Irvine, USA): “Of Feminist Interventions in Irano-Armenian Diaspora-in-Motion: Informality of Oral Histories”
  • Janice OKOOMIAN (Rhode Island College, USA): “‘Come, dear sister, let’s unite’: Feminist cohorts and interventions in the Armenian American diaspora” 

Discussant: Alain Navarra (Hyestart, Switzerland & University of Bologna, Italy)

11:30 am

Panel 5: Negociating belongings in changing diasporas

  • Irena GRIGORYAN (Koç University, Turkey): “Negotiating Place and Identity in a Forced Journey: Syrian-Armenians Between Homelands” 
  • Natalya KOSMARSKAYA (Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia): “’I am Drifting Between the Two Poles”: Identity Construction of Armenians of Mixed Parentage in the Big Cities of Russia”
  • Yulia ANTONYAN (Yerevan State University, Armenia): “’We could not find enough spirituality in the Armenian church anymore’: the identity trap and the search for new patterns of religiosity (the case of the Armenian community of Beirut)”

Discussant: Taline Ter Minassian (Institut National des Langues Orientales, France)

2:30 pm

Panel 6: New platforms for diasporic agency

  • Houry PILIBBOSSIAN (American University of Armenia, Armenia): ”Hi Haleb: Community Digital Archive” 
  • Karen JALLATYAN (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe, GWZO, Germany): "Vahé Oshagan, or On Diasporic Education"
  • Svante LUNDGREN (Lund University, Sweden): "Young Swedish Armenians in a Time of Digital and Transnational Activism"

Discussant: Shushan Karapetian (University of Southern California, USA)

 4:30 pm :

Panel 7: The armenia diaspora and “Stateless power”.

Roundtable about the publication of The Armenian Diaspora and “Stateless Power”. Collective Identity in the Transnational 20th Century with co-editors Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine, USA), Sossie Kasbarian (University of Stirling, Scotland) and Tsolin Nalbantian (Leiden University, Netherlands), as well as contributors Boris Adjemian, Karen Jallatyan, Vahe Sahakyan and Khachig Tölölyan.

Discussant: Sossie Kasbarian (University of Stirling, Scotland)

5:30 pm

Concluding remarks: Khachig Tölölyan (Wesleyan) and Michel Bruneau (CNRS)

Organizing committee

  • Boris Adjemian (AGBU Nubar library, CRH-EHESS, ICM)
  • Anouche Der Sarkissian (Sorbonne Nouvelle, CREW, ICM)
  • Alain Navarra de Borgia - Navassartian (University of Bologna)
  • Yann Scioldo-Zürcher (CNRS, CRH-EHESS, Institut Convergences Migrations)

Scientific committee

  • Boris Adjemian (AGBU Nubar library, CRH-EHESS, ICM)
  • Michel Bruneau (CNRS)
  • James Cohen (Sorbonne Nouvelle, CREW)
  • Anouche Der Sarkissian (Sorbonne Nouvelle, CREW, ICM)
  • Stéphane De Tapia (Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, UMR 7043)                                   
  • Stéphane Dufoix (Paris Nanterre, Sophiapol, ICM)
  • Shushan Karapetian (USC Institute of Armenian Studies)
  • Sossie Kasparian (University of Stirling)
  • Alain Navarra de Borgia - Navassartian (University of Bologna)
  • Yann Scioldo-Zürcher (CNRS, CRH-EHESS, Institut Convergences Migrations)
  • Gayane Shagoyan (Institute of Archeology and Ethnography in Yerevan)
  • Taline Ter Minassian (Institut national des langues orientales, CREE)
  • Khachig Tölölyan (Wesleyan University

 

Places

  • Campus Condorcet - Centre des Colloques - Place du Front populaire CEDEX
    Aubervilliers, France (93322)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Thursday, March 14, 2024
  • Friday, March 15, 2024

Keywords

  • armenia, armenian, diaspora, migration, transnation

Contact(s)

  • Boris Adjemian
    courriel : diasporas [dot] in [dot] motion [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Anouche Der Sarkissian
    courriel : diasporas [dot] in [dot] motion [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Alain Navarra de Borgia
    courriel : diasporas [dot] in [dot] motion [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Yan Scioldo-Zürcher
    courriel : diasporas [dot] in [dot] motion [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Anouche Der Sarkissian
    courriel : diasporas [dot] in [dot] motion [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Armenian Diaspora(s) in Motion », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Monday, February 05, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/vr2a

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