Conf/CfP - Armenian Diaspora in the United States: Communities, Politics, Culture, 17-18 November 2016, Boston, USA

Publish Date: Mar 22, 2016

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Event Dates: from Nov 17, 2016 12:00 to Nov 18, 2016 12:00

The Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) will hold its annual conference in Boston, MA on 17-18 November 2016. The conference will take place in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), Boston, MA, 17-20 November 2016. The theme of the conference will be “Armenian Diaspora in the United States: Communities, Politics, Culture.”

From the mid-nineteenth century until the end of the twentieth the United States had served as one of the major destinations of Armenian immigration. Even before the Armenian Genocide, the United States had already hosted vibrant Armenian communities in New England, New York, New Jersey, California and elsewhere. Accelerated after the 1895-1896 massacres in the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent genocidal dispersion, Armenian immigration to the United States came to an abrupt end with the Johnson–Reed Immigration Act in 1924. Some Armenian displaced persons were able to emigrate to the United States from Eastern Europe and the Middle East in the aftermath of the Second World War. But the large-scale Armenian immigration resumed after the Hart-Celler Act went into effect in 1965. Political crises in various countries of the Middle East and the collapse of Soviet Union caused large emigrations of Armenians, many of whom ended up in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Armenian presence in the Untied States has been marked in the public sphere by religious, political, philanthropic, youth and cultural organizations, Armenian language periodicals, and, after 1965, by the growing number of Armenian day schools, and more recently by radio stations and TV channels. Currently, the Armenian-American category represents an amalgam of Armenian collectivities of diverse origins, adherents of different, predominantly Christian denominations, speakers of Armenian Eastern or Western dialects and people with no knowledge of Armenian, members of various Armenian political, cultural, philanthropic, business, professional and other organizations.

Studies of Armenia-American community have predominantly focused on the pre-1924 immigrants to the United States, their generations and on institutions they founded and operated. While political struggles have also been addressed, events that have shaped the tensions, conflicts, competition and cooperation within and across the Armenian-American communities since their inception through the Cold War and beyond still require serious scholarly attention.

We invite scholars from variety of disciplinary backgrounds and interdisciplinary fields to submit abstracts that engage with the following themes:

Routes: Immigration and Integration of Armenians in the United States

  • Patterns of immigration and integration of Armenians in the United States prior to 1924; assimilation, ghettoization and integration; negotiating Armenian communal spaces; immigrants to naturalized citizens.
  • 1948 Displaced Persons Act and the transfer of the Armenian DPs to America; the settlement and integration of Armenian DPs in America.
  • Patterns of immigration and settlement of Armenians from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and (post-)Soviet Armenia.

Armenian-American Communities: Institutions and Identities

  • Compatriotic settings, societies and the communal life of the pre-1924 Armenian immigrants;
  • Armenian Apostolic, Protestant and Catholic churches; Armenian-American identity across confessional affiliations;
  • Relations between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ arrivals (both prior to 1924, after WWII and especially after 1965); Armenianness across ‘old and ‘new’ communities.
  • Armenian-American periodicals, radio and TV stations.

Politics, Homeland and Diaspora 

  • Homeland, politics of identity and identity politics among Armenian-Americans;
  • Political, philanthropic, youth and women organizations; tensions, conflicts, competition and cooperation among Armenian-American organizations;
  • Armenian terrorism, political lobbying and Genocide recognition campaigns in the United States; impact on Armenian-American communities.
  • Relations with non-Armenian society and politics.

Education, Literature and Arts

  • Armenian school movement and Armenian identity in the United States;
  • Armenian-American Writers and Literature; Language, identity and belonging in Armenian-American literature;
  • Armenian-American arts and artists.
  • Dance and music as expression of Armenian identities and concerns among the Armenian-Americans.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words along with a short bio should be submitted to Vahe Sahakyan at by 31 May 2016. SAS will provide travel expenses and two days stay in Boston. Papers accepted should be submitted to JSAS for publication.

Organizing Committee:

Vahe Sahakyan
Bedross Der Matossian

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United States

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