Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Church, will speak on “What’s in a Name: Language, the Politics of the Armenian Genocide, and Medz Yeghern” at 7:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 on Zoom. The presentation is part of the Spring 2022 Lecture Series of the Armenian Studies Program and is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation.
Dr. Matiossian’s new book The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide: Language, History, and “Medz Yeghern” explores the genealogy of the concept of Medz Yeghern (“Great Crime”), the Armenian term widely used for the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The subject has been both omitted and misinterpreted in historiography.
The presentation will make reference to the etymology and the history of the word yeghern, its use parallel to “genocide” after 1945, and its political and historical implications, drawing from a vast array of instances of its use and misuse by politicians, journalists and others, particularly Pope John Paul II, the 2008 apology campaign by a group of Turkish intellectuals, and the last four presidents of the United States.
Dr. Vartan Matiossian, a historian and literary scholar, has been Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Church (New York) since 2019. He obtained his Ph.D. in History from the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 2006. He lives in New Jersey.
He has published extensively in Armenian, Spanish, and English, including the translation of almost two dozen books and the editing of twenty-five volumes, as well as five books of his authorship in Armenian, one in Spanish, and two in English: Armenian Language Matters (New York, 2019) and The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide: Language, History, and “Medz Yeghern” (London, 2021). His next book in English, co-authored with Artsvi Bakhchinyan, is forthcoming from the Press at California State University, Fresno: An Armenian Woman of the World: The Life and Work of Armen Ohanian, the “Dancer of Shamakha.”