Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program at Fresno State, participated in a workshop on Armenian literature held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, April 16-19.
Organized by Dr. Kevork Bardakjian, Marie Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian Literature at the University of Michigan, the workshop brought together eighteen graduate students and scholars from throughout the world to present papers and discuss the results of their research in the field of Armenian literature.
The workshop opened on Friday, April 17. The format for the workshop called for two or three participants to each present for twenty-five minutes, followed by a discussion. Sessions were chaired by Dr. Theo van Lint, Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies at Oxford University, Dr. Kevork Bardakjian, Dr. Khachig Tölölyan, Professor of English at Wesleyan University, Dr. Talar Chahinian of UCLA, and Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian of Fresno State.
Papers covered many topics, including “Some versions of the Armenian Epic Poem, Sasna Tzrer,” “The Contemporary Novel in Armenia,” and “Narrative Time and Diaspora’s New Novel: A Look at Krikor Beledian’s Anune lezui tak.”
Der Mugrdechian presented a paper on “Genocide, Identity, and Memory in Post-Genocide Armenian-American Literature,” focusing on the works of late twentieth century writers and especially on Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate.
One session was devoted to translation, a field that is deserving of more attention. Papers in this panel included “The Reception and Translation of Dante in the Armenian World,” by Sona Harutyunian, “Durian and Translation: Many Journeys, Several Destinations, No Arrival,” by Khachig Tölölyan, “Translation and other Creations: The International Context of Armenian Culture,” by Theo van Lint, and “Translation: An Art of Creation or Simulation?” by Kevork Bardakjian.
Participants had the opportunity to interact in an warm atmosphere at a dinner party hosted Saturday night by Dr. Kevork and Flora Bardakjian at their Ann Arbor home. The previous night, participants were hosted for dinner at the home of Mourad and Ani Kasparian.
The workshop concluded in on Sunday, April 19, with an open forum on Armenia-Diaspora literary relations, chaired by Prof. Der Mugrdechian.
Participants then visited the St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, and toured the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum, before departing.