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Society of Armenian Studies to Mark 40th Anniversary with Conference in Washington, D.C.

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

By Taniel Koushakjian

AAANews Blog

To mark the 40th Anniversary of its founding, the Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) will hold a two-day conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC, on November 21-22, 2015. The theme of this year’s conference is “Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the 19-20th Centuries.”

Twenty participants representing various international academic institutions will be participating. The first panel is entitled “The Contributions of Armenians to Ottoman Culture, Society, Art and Architecture,” and will include papers on topics such as “Reconstructing the Urban and Architectural History of Ottoman Armenian Communities: Zeytun, 1850-1915” and “Reassessing Cultural Transformation in Early-Twentieth-Century Bolis: Armenian Contributions to a Shared Ottoman Physical Culture.”

Panels two and three focus on “The Aftermath of the Genocide” and papers in these two sessions range from “The Emergence of the New Wealthy Class between 1915-1921: The Seizure of Armenian Property by the Local Elites in Aintab,” to “Naim Bey from Sis to Meskeneh: Testimony, Between Survivor Reticence and Descendants’ Consumption Binge.” Some of the participants include Heghnar Watenpaugh, Ümit Kurt, Rachel Goshgarian, Murat Yildiz, Richard Hovannisian, Anahit Kartashyan, Khatchig Mouradian, and Nora Cherishian Lessersohn.

Chair of the Organizing Committee and SAS Vice-President Prof. Bedross Der Matossian said: “As we are approaching the centennial of the Armenian Genocide this timely Conference not only allow us to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Society for Armenian Studies, one of the most important academic organizations dedicated to Armenian Studies, but also to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. In addition to fascinating papers that concentrate on the contribution of the Armenians to Ottoman society, there are also other captivating papers on the Armenian Genocide viewed from different perspectives that range from fresh studies on the concentration camps, humanitarian interventions, to denial of the Genocide.”

The Conference will conclude with a reception on Saturday night at the Embassy of Armenia. All sessions are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

“We urge the Armenian community at large and the academic community to attend this fascinating event and learn more about different aspects of the history of Armenians in the late Ottoman period,” said Der Matossian.

The conference will take place in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) that is going to be held in Washington, DC, November 22-25, 2014.

The Society for Armenian Studies was founded in 1974 by a group of scholars from the universities of California, Columbia, and Harvard on the initiative of Richard G. Hovannisian, Dickran Kouymjian, Nina Garsoian, Avedis Sanjian, and Robert Thomson. It is dedicated to the development of Armenian Studies as an academic discipline.

The aims of the Society for Armenian Studies are to promote the study of Armenian culture and society, including history, language, literature, and social, political, and economic questions; to facilitate the exchange of scholarly information pertaining to Armenian studies around the world; and to sponsor panels and conferences on Armenian studies.

The programs of the Society include publication of a Newsletter on the Society’s activities and on current research on Armenia; publication of the peer-reviewed Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, encouragement, sponsorship and publication of research on all facets of Armenian culture and society; and such other activities as the SAS council may from time to time determine.

For more information on the Society for Armenian Studies, please visit their website at  

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