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Armenian History as World History – Approaches to Teaching and Methods

Organized by the Armenian Studies Program, University of Michigan
Co-sponsored by Center for European Studies, Center for South Asian Studies, and Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies
January 21, 2015

The current state of teaching Armenian history survey courses remains largely confined to the traditional paradigm of kingdom / nation state and remains spatially focused on the territory of historical Armenia. Even though a new generation of scholars moves beyond the traditional framing of Armenian history there is a visible lack of textbooks that treat Armenian history within the wider context of world history or incorporate the latest conceptual turns in the field of history.

The workshop explored the possibilities of widening the frames of teaching Armenian history and making it relevant to larger audiences of students coming from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Armenian history presents a significant space to investigate the interconnectedness of world history – long established literary tradition, mercantile connections stretching far beyond the immediate socio-spatial milieu traditionally associated with Armenia and Armenians. The location of Armenia / Armenians at the crossroads of a multitude of different empires encompassing Armenia all present possibilities of placing Armenian history within the context of world history. In fact, given its reach and continuous recorded history it is surprising how little Armenian history has entered the field of world history.

The workshop brought together scholars working in three different periods of Armenian history stretching from medieval to the early modern and into the contemporary world in an attempt to discuss discrete approaches to world history within each era.