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Armenian Studies at Cal

Current Courses

ARMENI 1A: Introductory Armenian, 3 units
ARMENI 1B: Introductory Armenian, 3 units

An introduction to Armenian language and culture, aiming to give students basic competence in all four skills and an introduction to traditional and contemporary Armenian culture.

ARMENI 101A: Continuing Armenian, 3 units
ARMENI 101B: Continuing Armenian, 3 units

The purpose of this course is to further develop students' Armenian proficiency in all four language skills: using discussion, oral presentations, written assignments, and a variety of readings (literature, non-fiction, folklore, newspaper articles, etc.) chosen partly for their cultural significance and partly based on student needs and interests. Emphasis on particular skills (e.g. reading) depending on student needs and interests.

ARMENIAN 102: Advanced Readings in Specialized Armenian, 4 units
This course includes selected readings in Armenian drawn from a wide range of texts – literature, history, journalism, politics, law, science and technology, business and economics, etc. – tailored to the academic interests of the students enrolled. The course is designed to further develop students’ language skills and to link language competence to the study of contemporary politics, culture, and society in Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.

This course focuses on the representation of the Armenian Genocide in film. We will pair films that approach the issue of the Genocide with readings that theorize trauma, memory, and history in order to consider some complex questions: What is the relationship between historical narratives and artistic representation? Can film depict the experience of witnesses and the death of victims? What are the political and cultural ramifications of the Genocide in present-day Armenia and the Diaspora? While gaining an understanding of the ethical, political, and aesthetic considerations involved in the depiction of the Armenian Genocide, students will also have the opportunity to make points of comparison with the representation of the Holocaust and Rwandan Genocide in film.

HISTORY 177B: Armenia: From Pre-Modern Empires to the Present, 4 units
This survey course covers the period from the incorporation of most of the Armenian plateau into the Ottoman Empire to the present day. It reflects upon a number of themes. First, what was the status of the Armenians in the pre-modern empires and how did it shape the rise of modern Armenian national consciousness? Second, what were the roots of the Armenian-Turkish polarization that put an end to centuries of cohabitation? Third, what are the legacies of the independent republic of 1918 – 20 and of Soviet Armenia for the current Armenian state? Fourth, how did the dispersion shape the culture, mentalities, socioeconomic development, and political culture of the Armenian people? Fifth, what does it mean to be Armenian in the modern period, especially in the twentieth century? In other words, is there such a thing as a single Armenian identity uniting, say, a Soviet Armenian, an American Armenian, and a Lebanese Armenian? Finally, this survey will reflect on the main characteristics of modern Armenian culture, institutions, and political life.

History 103U: Comparative Genocides, 4 units
This senior seminar is an introduction to the field of genocide studies from an interdisciplinary, comparative, and thematic perspective. The seminar starts with a broad narrative survey of genocides in world history. It continues with readings on the concept of genocide and the discontents this concept generates. It then focuses on case-studies summing up the current state of the historiography. Thereafter, disciplinary approaches and thematic issues are treated. Finally, the seminar concludes with two acclaimed advanced readings, which require prior knowledge of genocides.

Instructors (Current and Recent)
Stephan Astourian
Myrna Douzjian
Hasmig Seropian

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