UCLA AGSA hosts academics to discuss research in Armenian Studies

MARCH 05, 2004

UCLA Armenian Graduate Students Association
Graduate Students Association
c/o Armenian Graduate Students Association
Kerckhoff Hall Room 316
308 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Contact: Gevork Nazaryan
E-mail: [email protected]

UCLA AGSA hosts academics to discuss current research in Armenian Studies

The UCLA Armenian Graduate Students Association held the second annual,
international Graduate Student Colloquium in Armenian Studies at UCLA on
Friday, February 20, 2004. It drew numerous academics and students from
UCLA as well as local universities who enjoyed presentations on themes from
Classical Literature, the Contemporary History and Politics of
Transcaucasia, Modern Literature, as well as Armenians and Education Issues
in the USA. “I found putting the colloquium together to be a most rewarding
experience and the day itself was not only informative and academically
stimulating, but exciting as well,” remarked Ani Moughamian, a UCLA
graduate student in the School of Education and Project Director of the
2004 colloquium. “We really brought a great group of students together from
so many different places and it was a thrill for me to see how successful
the colloquium was this year in terms of scholarship and camaraderie
between students.”

“It was a pleasure to be able to attend such a wonderful event. The AGSA
members did an excellent job and the colloquium has developed in so many
ways since last year. I can only expect its continued growth in the coming
years and the UCLA AGSA is happy to provide the foundation for the creative
and ambitious graduate students of this and future organizing committees,”
commended Haig Hovsepian, Executive Officer of the UCLA AGSA. He also
expressed his thanks to Dr. Peter Cowe (Professor and holder of the
Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Language and Literature) for his participation
in the organizing committee. “Dr. Cowe helped make the 2003 colloquium a
reality and continued to provide a professional experience for the 2004
organizing committee in its efforts to put together a quality event.”

The first panel of the morning session featured Andrea Scala (Austria) and
Lilit Hovsepyan (Armenia) who presented their works regarding texts by John
Chrysostum and Gregory of Narek, respectively. Andrea hails from the
Armenology community of Italy where, since submitting his abstract in
response to the 2004 call for papers, he received his degree from the State
University in Milan. For Lilit, it was the first time presenting her work
in an academic conference outside of the Republic of Armenia. She happily
relayed that “… it was a good chance to come into contact with other
people [in the field], to make friends, and learn much about the students
and educational system at UCLA.” She also noted that her participation in
the colloquium and the colloquium itself has received positive support and
feedback from her colleagues in Armenia. She looks forward to more graduate
students presenting their work in the coming years.

Leading off the second panel of the day, Ohannes Geukjian (Peace Studies –
University of Bradford, UK) presented a paper on the historical and
territorial dimensions of the conflict in Artsakh. He was joined by Asbed
Kotchikian, a political science doctoral student from Boston University,
who delivered a lecture on the perceived roles of Russia and Turkey in
Georgian and Armenian foreign policy.

“I was excited both about the geographical range of participants in this
year’s colloquium as well as the diversity of disciplines which they
represented within the broad field of Armenian Studies,” expressed Dr.
Peter Cowe. “This is a real indication of the growth and expansion of our
field and is very stimulating.”

His sentiments were echoed by Talar Chahinian, a UCLA graduate student in
the Department of Comparative Literature, who presented her work on
French-Armenian writers in the years immediately following the Armenian
Genocide. “It is very exciting to see graduate students from different
countries and across various disciplines coming together… The colloquium
did a great job of providing a forum for these different voices and also of
providing a space for community building among the participants.”

Talar was joined by fellow UCLA graduate student Tamar Boyadjian (Near
Eastern Languages and Cultures) who presented her latest work exploring the
use of natural imagery by late-19th and early-20th century Armenian poets.
Rounding off the third panel on modern literature was Karen Gharslyan of
the Bryusov State Linguistics University (Armenia) who compared the
literary perceptions of Giambattista Vico and James Joyce as it related to
the Biblical Flood, Noah and his descendent, as well as the role of the
Armenian people in this beginning of humanity.

Though the day’s program was nearing its end by the end of the fourth
panel, the question and answer session that followed was no less energetic
than those that preceded it. Artineh Samkian who presented on the topic of
language use in Armenian private schools expressed her appreciation of the
dialogue between academics in the audience. “I received some important
comments and constructive criticism that will help me to better shape my
project in its ‘final’ state.” Artineh, UCLA graduate student in the School
of Education was joined by Ani Moughamian and Yeprem Mehranian (University
of Massachusetts, Amherst). Whereas Ani presented data on the literacy
achievement of Armenian-American learners of the English Language, Yeprem
delved into the issue of the search for identity and the negotiation
between that of being Armenian and American.

Ramela Grigorian, a graduate student from the Department of Art History at
UCLA noted that a number of this year’s participants had indicated that
they would be returning to their home institutes and students as well as
colleagues to excitedly inform them about the colloquium and the active
Armenian studies community. “How wonderful that a symposium like this has
the power to inspire! I do hope to see more members of the community attend
the conference next year!”

With only a week to rest, the organizing committee is already back to work
and is in the process of drafting the next year’s call for papers. The UCLA
AGSA looks forward to February 2005 and hosting the next Graduate Student
Colloquium in Armenian Studies.

———- Attachment # 1 of 1: 2004 GSCiAS Photographs (3) ———-

– 1 – Photo viewable/download-able at:

– 1 – Caption: Andrea Scala (right – State University of Milan, Italy) and
Lilit Hovsepyan (left – Abovian State University, Armenia) field questions
from the audience following the first panel of the morning on classical

– 2 – Photo viewable/download-able at:

– 2 – Caption: Members of the audience during the third panel on modern

– 3 – Photo viewable/download-able at:

– 3 – Caption: UCLA AGSA general member, Ani Nahapetian moderates the
question and answer session following the fourth panel of the day
(Armenians and Education Issues in the USA). Seated from left to right are
Ani Moughamian (UCLA), Artineh Samkian (UCLA), and Yeprem Mehranian (U
Mass, Amherst).