Bournoutian Seminar on Karabagh at NAASR March 5

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research
395 Concord Avenue
Belmont, MA 02478
Phone: 617-489-1610
E-mail: [email protected]


Historian Dr. George A. Bournoutian will offer a special afternoon
seminar on “The Academic War Over Nagorno-Karabagh” on Saturday,
March 5, at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research
(NAASR) Center, 395 Concord Avenue, Belmont, MA. The seminar will run
from 12:30 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. with a period of question and answer
and discussion to follow.

George Bournoutian is Senior Professor of History at Iona College.
He is the author of numerous books on Armenian history and has taught
Armenian history at Columbia University, Tufts University, New York
University, Rutgers University, the University of Connecticut, Ramapo
College, and Glendale Community College. He is currently Visiting
Professor of Armenian History at Columbia.

Fighting War Turns Into Academic Battle

This seminar will explore the ongoing academic battle over the disputed
area of Nagorno-Karabagh. Although a cease fire has kept the shooting
war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces quiet for over a decade,
the scholarly skirmishes continue, with Azeri schol-ars presenting
a version of history that purports to show that the region has
always been Azeri territory. This academic battle has real political
consequences as both sides stake their claim to a territory where
much blood has already been shed.

Bournoutian recently published Two Chronicles on the History of
Karabagh, with a major grant from NAASR and other funders, a revised
and substantially expanded version of Bournoutian’s earlier, out of
print History of Qarabagh (1994). The two chronicles in question,
Mirza Jamal Javanshir’s Tarikh-e Karabagh and Mirza Adigözal Beg’s
Karabagh-name, provide a detailed picture of Karabagh in the 18th and
early 19th centuries. The translation of the Tarikh-e Karabagh formed
the basis of his earlier History of Qarabagh, while the Karabagh-name
makes its first appearance in English in the new volume.

Historical Revisionism with Political Impact

Bournoutian writes that “Partisans of both [the Armenian and Azeri]
sides produced polemical studies affirming their historical claims
to the region.. A number of Azerbaijani his-tories, led by the late
Ziya Buniatov, have gone beyond the bounds of scholarship and have
ma-nipulated the original 19th century Persian texts written by Turkic
Muslims, by expunging most references to Armenia and the Armenians
in the new editions of these works.”

In presenting these unexpurgated translations with substantial
commentary and sup-plemented with material from three other
sources, Bournoutian is providing a necessary corrective to such
pseudo-scholarly behavior. “Statesmen shall ultimately decide the
validity of Armenian and Azeri claims in Karabagh,” he writes.
“In the meantime, the work of these 19th-century local historians
should aid unbiased historians to sort out the facts.”

With Bournoutian serving as an expert guide, those attending the
seminar will reach a greater understanding of the troubled history
of Nagorno-Karabagh and how the writing of that history has an impact
on the shaping of current and future events.

Bournoutian’s book Two Chronicles on the History of Karabagh is
available at the NAASR bookstore and will be on sale the day of the
seminar and available for signing by the author.

The NAASR Center is located near Belmont Center and is directly
opposite the First Armenian Church and next to the U.S. Post Office.
Ample parking is available around the building and in adjacent areas.

More information about Bournoutian’s seminar, including purchasing,
or NAASR and its programs for the furtherance of Armenian studies,
research, and publication may be had by calling 617-489-1610, faxing
617-484-1759, e-mailing [email protected], or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord
Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.