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Lectures at UC Berkeley

—October 16, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Boris Adjemian

Talk: “Ethiopia’s Armenians (19th-20th Centuries)”

Location: 270 Stephens Hall

Time: 12pm-1:30pm

Abstract: In the academic literature and typologies, the Armenian
diaspora is widely characterized as a classical example of trading
diaspora, middlemen minority, and/or victim diaspora. Diasporas are
supposed to be de-territorialized, inextricably linked to the remote
fatherland of their ancestors, whereas their attachment to the host
society remains superficial and depoliticized. However, the history of
Armenians in Ethiopia brings some nuances to this theoretical frame.
From the Early Modern period to the era of European colonialism, the
utilization of Armenian servants and agents by Ethiopian sovereigns
reveals the existence of specific perceptions of Armenians in Ethiopia.
Throughout the 20th century, Armenian immigrants and their descendants
in Ethiopia proved deeply integrated into the host society. The study of
collective memory of Armenian immigration to Ethiopia makes this
integration clear, as it builds on the leitmotiv of the Ethiopian kings’
friendship towards the Armenians, thus remapping Ethiopia as a homeland
of substitution for a people in exile.

Bio: Boris Adjemian is a historian and the director of AGBU Nubar
Library (Paris). He is the co-editor of the bilingual academic journal
Études arméniennes contemporaines and a member of the editorial board of
20&21: Revue d’histoire. He defended his PhD  at the École des Hautes
Études en Sciences Sociales and Università degli Studi di Napoli in
2011. His first book, entitled La fanfare du négus: les Arméniens en
Éthiopie (19e-20e siècles), was published by Éditions de l’EHESS in 2013.

—October 31, 2019

Speaker: Ayşenur Korkmaz

Talk: “At ‘Home’ Away from ‘Home’? The ex-Ottoman Armenians and Spatial
Belonging in Soviet Armenia”

Location: 3335 Dwinelle Hall (use the entrance opposite the Valley Life
Sciences building, not the main entrance near Sather Gate).

Time: 6:30pm

Abstract: This talk explores spatial attachments among the ex-Ottoman
Armenians who survived the Armenian genocide and settled in their ‘new
homeland’, Soviet Armenia. It addresses the question of how the refugees
dealt with loss and displacement and reflected on their former
hometowns, referred to as ‘Ergir,’ a spatial construct denoting a
symbolic ‘Armenian homeland’ or a ‘local homeland’ in Anatolia. I argue
that the refugees conceptualized Ergir not only in relation to their
expulsion but also to the socio-political factors that influenced them
in Soviet Armenia in three periods. The first era of reflection on Ergir
was the 1920s and 1930s, replete with nostalgic sentiments. The second
was the suppression of the theme of Ergir, from 1936 to about 1960,
particularly during the political crackdowns in Stalin’s era. The third
period saw the revival of Ergir and marked a new phase in the
conceptualizations of ‘homeland’ in which the displacement from Anatolia
in 1915-1916 and the Stalinist purges have been enmeshed into one
tragedy of the ex-Ottoman Armenians.

Bio: Ayşenur Korkmaz is a PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdam,
European Studies. She gained her Master’s degree at the Central European
University in Nationalism Studies (with honors). Her main areas of
interest are the late Ottoman Empire, Soviet Armenia, as well as
anthropological concepts of homeland, sacralization, and materiality.
She has published several articles on the Hamidian Massacres, the lives
of Ottoman Armenian intellectuals in the nineteenth century, and the
Armenian genocide. Korkmaz’s current doctoral research explores the
post-genocide articulations of the Armenian homeland (Ergir), through
materiality and rituals.

—November 6, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Űmit Kurt

Talk: “Life and Death from Yemen to the Euphrates: Syrian Governor Cemal

Location: 3335 Dwinelle Hall (use the entrance opposite the Valley Life
Sciences building, not the main entrance near Sather Gate).

Time: 6:30pm

Abstract: Known for his rigid policies towards Arab nationalists and
Zionists during his posting in Greater Syria, Cemal Pasha and his role
in the Armenian genocide have always remained an issue of contention.
There are important accounts of Cemal’s activity, particularly during
WWI, which have found him to have had no active role in the deportation
and extermination of Armenians – here differing from the other two
pillars of the CUP, Enver and Talat. On the contrary, such accounts
argue that he extended a helping hand to Armenians in so far as his
authority and power would allow, and that he even faced off against
members of the central government in Istanbul and the CUP head office to
do so. This talk will question that argument, examining the politics of
Cemal Pasha during the war, while concentrating on his approach to the
Armenian ‘Question’. I will also explore Cemal’s own responsibility for
the Armenian genocide and discuss the context and contingencies of the
way in which his role as a genocide perpetrator manifested itself.

Bio: Ümit Kurt earned his PhD in history at Clark University in 2016. He
is Polonsky Fellow in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Dr. Kurt’s
works have examined a number of topics: the transfer of Armenian wealth;
the transformation of space; elite-making processes; ordinary
perpetrators; collective violence; microhistories; inter-ethnic
conflicts; the Armenian genocide; and early modern Turkish nationalism.
He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in 2016-17 in the Center for Middle
Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of The Great,
Hopeless Turkish Race: Fundamentals of Turkish Nationalism in the
Turkish Homeland, 1911-1916 (2012) and the co-author of The Spirit of
the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (2015) and
Antep 1915: Genocide and Perpetrators (2018). He is currently teaching
at the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv

Oct 19 & 20: Armenian Food Festival

Armenian Food  Festival October 19 and 20, 2019 IN SF

The 77th Annual St. John Armenian Church’s Food Festival will be held Saturday, October 19 from 12 noon to 9pm and Sunday and October 20 from 12 noon to 3pm at the Paul Fellowship Hall, 275 Olympia Way in San Francisco.

Armenian delicacies will be served continually in the Church Hall and at the take-out booth.  Armenian dancing starts on Saturday at 9pm.


Proceeds from the food festival will be donated to Armenian charities, one locally and one in Armenia. St. John is the oldest Armenian church in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

For more information about the festival: Church Office (415) 661-1142, or

Hasmik Harutyunyan and Kitka in Concert / Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands

Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble joins forces with renowned Armenian folk singer Hasmik Harutyunyan, to present Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands.

October 17 at 6:30pm / Green Music Center, Schroeder Concert Hall, 801 East Cotati Avenue, ROHNERT PARK, CA

October 18 at 8:00pm / St. Vartan Armenian Church, 650 Spruce Street, OAKLAND, CA

October 19 at 7:30pm / Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo De San Antonio, SAN JOSE, CA

Renowned Armenian Folk Singer Hasmik Harutyunyan and Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble join forces to present three collaborative concerts entitled Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands. Performances will take place at the Green Music Center’s Schroeder Concert Hall at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park on Thursday, October 17 at 6:30pm; St. Vartan’s Armenian Church in Oakland on Friday, October 18 at 8pm; and Saturday, October 19 at The Hammer Theater Centre at San Jose State University at 7:30pm. Advance tickets may be purchased online via links at

One of Armenia’s leading folk singers, Hasmik Harutyunyan is world-renowned for her work with Yerevan’s Shoghaken Ensemble and for her mellifluous renditions of Armenian lullabies, one of the most ancient and evocative genres in Armenian music. Her quietly passionate interpretations of traditional melodies from historical villages across the Armenian plateau offer a mesmerizing glimpse into a lost world. Harutyunyan draws strength and inspiration from her ancestors in the province of Moush in historic (Western) Armenia, especially her grandmother, Mafo, who sang to her as a child. In addition to songs sung by her family, Hasmik learned many of the songs in her repertoire from elder women who had emigrated from Anatolia to Eastern Armenia before or during the Armenian Genocide of 1914-1923, as well as from their descendants and old song collections.

In addition to performances throughout Armenia, Georgia, Russia, United Arab Emirates Europe, and North America, the music of Harutyunyan’s Shoghaken Ensemble has been heard as part of Yo-Yo Ma’s 2002 Silk Road Project, and on the soundtrack of the film Ararat. In addition to her work with Shoghaken Ensemble, Harutyunyan passes her cultural heritage on to the next generation as director of the Hayrik Muradyan Children’s Traditional Song and Dance Ensemble.

In 2009 and 2010 Harutyunyan and Kitka toured together in California and Armenia as part of Kitka’s Caucasus Connections Project.

Hasmik Harutyunyan’s first solo CD, Armenian Lullabies (Traditional Crossroads, 2004), was praised in a New York Times review as ‘The best Armenian recording worldwide.” This concert celebrates the release of Ororotsayin, Harutyunyan’s new book and CD anthology of 57 more historical Armenian lullabies, most never previously recorded.

Of her lifelong commitment to the art of the Armenian lullaby, Harutyunyan writes: ‘Lullabies guide a person throughout their entire life. In the beginning, they are sung to you, later, you are the one who sings… in this way, the cosmic melody of love and affection continues forever.’

Joining Hasmik Harutyunyan will be Kitka, Oakland’s trailblazing women’s vocal arts ensemble. Inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Kitka has earned international recognition for its distinctive sound, exploring a vast palette of ancient yet contemporary-sounding vocal effects. Kitka’s commitment to presenting traditional song as a living and evolving expressive art form has led to adventurous collaborations with some of the world’s most exciting indigenous musicians and contemporary composers ranging from Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares to Meredith Monk. Currently celebrating its 40th season, Kitka began as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, and resonant strength of traditional Eastern European women’s vocal music. Since its informal beginnings, the group has evolved into an award-winning touring ensemble known for its artistry, versatility and mastery of the demanding techniques of regional vocal styling, as well as for its innovative explorations in new music for women’s voices. The ensemble’s wide-ranging performance, teaching, and recording activities have exposed millions to the haunting beauty of their unique repertoire.

In addition to the three Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands concerts, Kitka will host three participatory public workshops with Hasmik Harutyunyan in which she will share traditional Armenian dances and songs.

Folk dance workshops will take place on Friday, October 4 at 7:30pm at Bethany Lutheran Church in Menlo Park, and on Tuesday, October 8 at 7pm at Monroe Hall in Santa Rosa.

On Saturday, October 12 at 2pm, Harutyunyan will present a vocal workshop focused on Armenian lullabies and love songs at Silk Road House in Berkeley.

These concerts and workshops commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Armenian monk, composer, and folk song collector/preserver Komitas Vardapet.

Hasmik Hartutyunan’s Bay Area residency is supported, in part, by grants from WESTAF Tour West and the City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program.

Questions?: Shira Cion
Phone: 5104440323

Armenian art is often associated with the architecture of ancient Armenian churches and monasteries and the glorious pages of medieval manuscripts. However, Armenian artists did not stop producing with the end of the medieval era. Nor did they create art in a single style or at one location.

As Armenian artists acquired more global education, including art education, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, their horizons expanded and they created a wide range of paintings. This feverish activity continues to this day.

Hamazkayin San Francisco Nigol Aghpalian Chapter Art Committee presents 

for the first time in the Bay Area, the artworks of internationally renowned Armenian artists projected on large screens.

Immerse yourself in their artwork and their lives.

Saturday, November 16, 2019 

Gala Cocktail Reception 7:00pm

Tickets: Adults $60   13-22 years old $30

No Children under 13 years old

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Event hours 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Adults: $30   13-22 years old $15

Children under 12 Free

For tickets:  Event: Journey Through Armenian Paintings

Call: 650-492-0832      Tickets will be available at the door

New book for children: Parev, Yerevan: An Armenian Children’s Book

Parev, Yerevan is a fun, engaging, and educational board book in Armenian about Yerevan. Beautifully illustrated, it takes the reader through well-known sites in Yerevan and showcases Armenian culture and history in a simple and captivating manner. It exposes children to both the Armenian language and the spirit of Armenia. This is a great introduction to Yerevan for young children!

My goal is to expose children to the Armenian language and help foster a connection to Armenia at a young age. Since there are very few board books in Armenia, this book is an ideal engagement tool for young children.

Please visit my page at to learn more about my campaign and pre-order your copy. Thank you!