Slavic 158 Section 2: Topics in East European Cultural History: “Modern Discourse on Armenian Identity”

MWF 3-4, B51 Hildebrand. Instructor: Visiting Prof. Levon Abrahamian (Dept. of Anthropology).

Units: 4 Satisfies L&S Historical Studies OR Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth requirement.

Slavic 158 is a Cultural Topics requirement for majors in the East European or Eurasian cultures track in the Slavic department. This course has no prerequisites and can also be used to fulfill elective credit with a choice of L&S Breadth requirements.

The course outlines the modern discourse on the constituents of Armenian national identity, such as language, religion, or shared history, as well as the old and new paradigms and key symbols of Armenianness. It is based mainly on Armenian and some areal, mainly Transcaucasian cases. It will discuss the different attitudes towards identity, models of shaping nationalisms, and current scholarly discourse on national identity. The course will cover the time period from the 5th century to modern times and discuss the early-medieval and modern “shapers” of Armenianness, the mechanisms of survival during critical and uncertain situations, and the orientations between East and West. In addition, this class will focus on transformations of Armenian identity in the late-Soviet and post-Soviet periods.
The course will present the discourse on national identity in the context of homeland/diaspora relations, state and national symbolism, memory construction and school textbooks, and music and dance. Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, deserves particular attention. We will discuss the presentations of Armenianness through commemorative practices, conceptual images, and national images from Alexander Tamanian’s garden city to Stalin-era architecture and modern elite (de)constructions.

Prerequisites: None.