State of Armenian Studies
The State of the Armenian Studies Project was originally organized and conducted by Dr. Gerard Libaridian, former head of the Center for Armenian Studies (CAS) and Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan, as a means to assess quantitatively and qualitatively the contours of the field. In 2008, Libaridian together with two graduate students, Vahe Sahakyan and Naira Tumanyan embarked upon a grand assessment of the field outside of Armenia. Although other academic associations regularly produce reports on their respective disciplines, little was known about the widespread professionalization of Armenian Studies outside of Armenia at the time. The State of Armenian Studies Project sought to fill this lacuna, as insurmountable as the task seemed (and perhaps remains).
To that end, two international workshops at the University of Michigan produced several discussions, debates, and finally cursory reports on the state of the field in America, the Middle East, and Europe. CAS is pleased to publicize these reports as a set online, alongside other data on the quantitative state of the field. It is our hope that by publishing this phase of the project – an overview of the professional footprint of the field – we might open a modest pathway for scholars to assess, and in fact to rethink, something far more intangible: the qualitative dimensions of the field. That is to say, we hope the SAS project will serve as a departure point for other scholars to identify not only what the field is, and has been, but also to recommend where it is going and what it should be.
The scholars who attended the initial State of Armenian Studies workshops, as well as completed questionnaires on the state of the field, debated these questions together in an informal, roundtable format. Answers to such questions must always be provisional, of course. However, the questions still need to be asked, with fresh eyes, from different vantage points. In that sense, although the first published fruits of this project skew towards the quantitative side, we hope they might establish a baseline for asking such questions in other contexts, elsewhere as well as at U-M.
CAS is moving forward with the State of Armenian Studies project by preparing new edited volumes that broadly assess, and make recommendations about, the changing nature of the field itself. Armenian Studies has never been, and should never be a monolithic enterprise. It is therefore our hope that others will continue in the spirit of this endeavor, even and especially if such efforts produce a diversity of visions on the nature of the multifaceted world of Armenian Studies.