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Center for Armenian Studies Events

For previous years' guest speakers and topics, please visit the Center for Armenian Studies poster and flyer archive.

We also encourage you to check out a selection of CAS video recordings on our Videos of Past Events page and on our YouTube channel.

CAS Workshop | Trauma, Memory, and the History of Mental Health in Armenian Studies Past and Present

Eleventh Annual International Graduate Student Workshop
Friday, April 9, 2021
10:00 AM-1:30 PM
By invitation only. Full participation requires the reading of pre-circulated papers. If you are interested in joining the meeting, please contact

Full workshop schedule at:

In recent years, the history of trauma, memory, and mental health, as well as the literary, anthropological, and sociological studies of madness have gained a remarkable momentum internationally. Still, there have been virtually no substantial studies of a premodern and modern understanding of trauma, memory, and mental health in Armenia and its Diaspora. This interdisciplinary workshop aims to interrogate the stories of both medical and psychiatric sciences as well as that of the concepts of trauma and madness in Armenian political, historical, literary, and cultural discussions in the past and present. The workshop will focus on the histories of medicine, trauma, and psychiatry and the portrayals of madness as a form of behavior, marker of difference, and tool of body politics across periods and geographies. The workshop organizers are interested in the broader history of medicine, but they would like to draw particular attention to the historical and contemporary landscapes in which medical professionals sought to exercise their authorities over mental illnesses and the mind itself.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tools and theories have provided medical professionals with renewed opportunities to intervene in the social, political and cultural spheres with the shared objective of devising and implementing therapies of madness. In this, the workshop will initiate an interdisciplinary conversation about the concept, diagnosis, treatment, “The Genius and the Crowd” (1909) by Yeghishe Tadevosyan (1870-1936) and social construction of “madness.” The goal is to consider new perspectives, methodologies and crossdisciplinary frameworks that will put Armenian Studies in conversation with, among others, the growing fields of history of medicine, science, and technology studies. We are also interested in a comparative study of genocides and trans-generational transmission of trauma by underlining both parallel mechanisms and unique features of the legacies of various historical and social traumas, such as the Holocaust, the historical oppression and colonization of native peoples in America and African-American slavery. As such, an examination of the loops between various forms of colonial, structural and ethnic violence, socio-political discourses and embodied individual experiences are of interest for our discussion.

In the course of the workshop, the hope is to call into question what was and is culturally defined as madness as well as medical and societal interventions to “cure” madness and “contain” the mad. Therefore, this meeting will situate the notion of madness at the intersection of politics, medicine, literature, sociology, and anthropology and seeks to explore the changes in its definition and the underpinnings of perceptions of mental illnesses at critical junctures of history in Armenia and amongst its diasporic communities across the globe.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Armenia
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Armenian Studies, International Institute
Upcoming Dates:
Friday, April 9, 2021 10:00 AM-1:30 PM  (Last)