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Armenian Cultural Life in Istanbul

Organized by the Armenian Studies Program
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
February 15, 2013

Whether as emperors or soldiers, philosophers or architects, there was an Armenian presence in Byzantium, Constantine the Great’s Constantinople. After the fall of the city in 1453, there emerged a larger Armenian community with its religious position evolving into a universal patriarchate for the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. In due course, particularly from the 1700s, this polis, the beloved "Bolis" of the Armenians, assumed the religious, cultural, social, and political leadership of the "Western" Armenians, to the Genocide of 1915. Of the myriad aspects of Armenian experiences, this workshop explored the literary representations as well as the social and political realities of life in Istanbul. One of the papers in this workshop dealt with Armeno-Turkish literature (Turkish texts in the Armenian script); another, with two Armenian novels from the 1950s and ‘60s; the third paper reflected on the survivors of the Genocide who ended up in Istanbul; and the fourth delved into contemporary Armenian realities in Istanbul.

Convenor: Kevork Bardakjian, Near Eastern Studies, U-M. Participants: Murat Cankara, Hakem al-RustomOhannes Kiliçdagi, 2012-13 Manoogian Fellows; Ali Bolcakan, Graduate Student