Armenian Studies Program Coordinator Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian gave three presentations during a visit to the United Kingdom, August 6-15, 2017. His travels took him to Oxford and also to London where he was invited to speak twice.
On Tuesday, August 8, Der Mugrdechian gave a presentation in London on “Historic Armenia” for students of Dr. Krikor Moskofian’s Programme of Armenian Studies. These students had come to London to participate in the Programme’s Summer Intensive Courses in Western Armenian. The courses were offered at three levels: elementary (in July 2017), intermediate (in August 2017) and advanced (in June 2017). Der Mugrdechian’s presentation discussed his recent journey to the eastern regions of Turkey, Historic Armenia. His focus was on the remaining Armenian landmarks and churches which dot the landscape.
The Programme of Armenian Studies (Հայագիտական Ուսմանց Ծրագիր) was established in 2012 to teach Western Armenian language, literature, culture, and history. It also promotes Armenian Studies in academic circles by hosting regular lectures.
From August 10-12 Prof. Der Mugrdechian was at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he presented a paper on “Armenian-American Literature of the Twentieth Century” in a panel held at the Association Internationale des Etudes Arméniennes (AIEA) 14th General Conference. Scholars from throughout the world participated in the three-day conference, discussing topics as varied as architecture, medieval literature, and art. An elegant Conference dinner was held at The Hall of Pembroke College on Friday, August 11. The Conference was significant because not only were participants able to exchange ideas about their current research but because they were able to meet with colleagues that they are only occasionally able to see in person.
The AIEA also held its triennial general membership meeting where various reports on the Society’s activities were presented and discussed.
The Conference was organized by Dr. Theo van Lint, Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies at the University of Oxford and by Dr. David Zakarian.
Prof. Der Mugrdechian’s third presentation was held at the Centre for Armenian Information and Advice (Hayashen, London) on Sunday, August 13, and was sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). AGBU Chairman Ara Sarafian introduced Der Mugrdechian, who spoke on “The Enigma of Armenia’s National Epic: David of Sassoon.”
Der Mugrdechian’s presentation brought up the main aspect of the enigma, namely that the Armenian National Epic was not recorded for more than a thousand years, until the late 19th century.
The enigma lies in the fact that the epic was not mentioned by the official literature of the Church or the government.
The Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State published “David of Sassoon: Critical Studies on the Armenian Epic,” co-edited by Dickran Kouymjian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, in 2016 as volume 4 of The Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno.
Following the presentation, Hayashen Executive Director Misak Ohanian gave guests a guided tour of the research facilities at the Hayashen Center.
Der Mugrdechian returned to Fresno for the beginning of the Fall semester at Fresno State, which began with the first day of instruction on August 22.