Dr. Sergio La Porta and Dr. Alison Vacca to present on ‘An Armenian Narrative on Early Islam: Ghevond’s History’

Armenian Studies Lecture: Dr. Sergio La Porta and Dr. Alison Vacca on "An Armenian Narrative on Early Islam: Ghevond's History"

Dr. Sergio La Porta and Dr. Alison Vacca will present a lecture entitled “An Armenian Narrative on Early Islam: Ghevond’s History” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191. The presentation is the second in the Spring Lecture Series of the Armenian Studies Program. The Leon S. Peters Foundation is a co-sponsor of the event.

With the fall of the capital Dvin to caliphal armies in the seventh century, Armenia became a province of the Islamic Caliphate. In the following century, the caliphs integrated the region within the Caliphate by stationing armies, minting aniconic Arabic coins, extracting taxes, and placing Muslim governors in Armenia.

Around 788, an Armenian vardapet, Ghevond, who witnessed the circumstances of caliphal rule in Armenia wrote a history of early Islam from the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 up to his own time. It is the only work of its kind that illuminates how Armenia was transformed during a century and a half of caliphal rule.

In this talk, Dr. Sergio La Porta and Dr. Alison Vacca take an interdisciplinary look at this history by situating it in relation to the Armenian Christian and Arabic-Islamic historical traditions. They not only address Armenian perceptions of the circumstances of Islamic rule in Armenia, but also speculate on the relationship between Armenian and Arabic historical texts.

La Porta is the Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Fresno State. His areas of research include medieval Armenian intellectual and political history, philology, and apocalyptic literature.

Dr. La Porta’s publications include a three-volume study on Armenian commentaries on the works of Dionysius the Areopagite (Peeters, 2008) and several articles on political legitimacy and intellectual history in medieval Armenia. He recently co-edited a volume with Dr. Kevork Bardakjian entitled, “The Armenian Apocalyptic Tradition: A Comparative Perspective” (Brill, 2014). La Porta is also currently the editor of the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies.

Alison Vacca is an assistant professor of History at the University of Tennessee and author of “Non-Muslim Provinces under early Islam: Islamic Rule and Iranian Legitimacy in Armenia and Caucasian Albania” (2017). She is interested in early Islamic rule over Armenia, intercommunal conflict and the relationship between Arabic and Armenian texts. Her new book project investigates the role of women as cultural mediators in the medieval Caucasus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center, Fresno State. Parking permits are not needed for the Friday evening lecture.

INFO: Armenian Studies Program at 559.278.2669 or visit www.fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.

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