CSUN to Host Conference on Armenian Genocide

Armenian-studies-4-webCalifornia State University, Northridge’s Armenian Studies Program will host a one-day conference from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan, 31, in the Grand Salon at the University Student Union.

“The Armenian Genocide: Accounting and Accountability” is dedicated to the generations of 1915 and 2015 as a part of the United Armenian Council of Los Angeles’ Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemorative Events.

“The significance of hosting the conference at CSUN is three-fold,” said Vahram Shemmassian, director of CSUN’s Armenian Studies program within the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. “CSUN has the largest number of students of Armenian background outside of Armenia, as far as four-year universities are concerned. The greater Los Angeles area is home to the second-largest community of the worldwide Armenian diaspora. Lastly, the conference also aims to further expose CSUN to the Armenian community at large, hopefully attracting more friends and supporters as a result.”

The morning session will include two panels. The first panel, “Language as a Victim,” will be moderated by Hagop Gulludjian and will feature the following speakers and topics: Vartan Matiossian, “Pleading no Context: On Uses and Abuses of the Word Yeghern;” professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, “Western Armenian Language and Literature in Exile: Genocide and Its Consequences;” and Shushan Karapetian, “The Burden of Language as a Moral Obligation.”

The second panel will explore “Teaching Genocide,” with Rubina Peroomian moderating. Hasmig Baran will talk about “Content and Pedagogy of Genocide Education in the 21st Century: The Armenian Case”; Roxanne Makasdjian will talk about “Armenian Genocide Education in Secondary Schools Today;” and Kori Street will talk about “Educating for Change: Using Testimonies in Teaching about Genocide.”

Third and fourth panels will be held in the afternoon session.

Levon Marashlian will moderate the third panel, “Those Who Were Forced to Assimilate.” It will feature the following speakers and subjects: Khatchig Mouradian on “Un-Hiding the Past: Myth-Making and the ‘Hidden Armenians’ of Turkey;” Elyse Semerdjian on “‘The Girl with the Cross Tattoo:’ Field Notes on Crypto-Armenians;” and Vahram Shemmassian on “The Fate of Captive Armenian Genocide Survivors in Syria.”

The Armenian Bar Association will conduct the fourth panel, titled “Legal Responses to Genocide-Related Liabilities.” Garo Ghazarian will introduce the panelists. Armen K. Hovannisian will moderate the panel. The speakers and their topics include: Saro Kerkonian on “Justice for Genocide: Opportunities and Challenges in United States Courts;” Edvin Minassian on “Justice for Genocide: Opportunities and Challenges in Turkey’s Courts;” and Karnig Kerkonian on “Justice for Genocide: Opportunities and Challenges in International Courts.” The conference will conclude with a commentary by Richard G. Hovannisian.

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at CSUN is co-sponsoring the event, along with the United Armenian Council of Los Angeles, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, The Knights of Vartan – Los Angeles County Chapters, the Armenian Bar Association and the Armenian General Benevolent Union. The Ararat-Eskijian Museum of Mission Hills will exhibit American Near East Relief posters during the conference.

The nearest parking lot to the University Student Union is G3 on Prairie Street (on campus) at Zelzah Avenue, near Nordhoff Street. Parking permits ($6) can be obtained at the information booth or via machines. For further information, please contact Vahram Shemmassian at vahram.shemmassian@csun.edu or (818) 677-3456.