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CAS Lecture | Toward a Theorization of Nested Memory

Helen Makhdoumian, 2021-22 Manoogian Postdoctoral Fellow
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
5:00-6:30 PM
Off Campus Location
Participate virtually by registering in advance for the webinar:

After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.

In Armenian Studies, most of the scholarship that we can categorize under the fields of trauma studies and memory studies has focused on the Armenian Genocide. What happens, though, when we recognize that inheritors of traumatic cultural memory can also be witnesses to succeeding events of collective violence? Listen to the testimonies of Armenian communities who remained in their ancestral homeland and those in the diaspora and you will likely find that phenomenon of narration.

Analyzing examples from Armenian American, Palestinian American, and American Indian literary canons, this presentation proffers the rubric of what Dr. Makhdoumian calls “nested memory.” Through this contrapuntal approach, she illuminates depictions of inherited memories of removal that are nested into collective memories of succeeding experiences of upheaval and displacement. Dr. Makhdoumian works in this manner of juxtaposition to build theoretical nuance and to make legible rather than erase the tensions that are raised when we bring together the afterlives of structural violence in different geopolitical sites. This approach allows her to articulate the overlapping but also distinct methodological aims of the study of the migration of memory, memory and migration, and the memory of migration.

Helen Makhdoumian received her PhD in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Trained as an interdisciplinary scholar, Makhdoumian also earned a minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies as well as certificates through the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies (HGMS) and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. From 2015-18, she co-organized the Future of Trauma and Memory Studies, an interdisciplinary graduate student and faculty member reading group on campus. She regularly contributed to Days and Memory, the HGMS blog, and her articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies. In addition to teaching literature and composition courses at the University of Illinois, Dr. Makhdoumian held administrative appointments as a Peer Mentor for New Instructors, Digital Literacies Coordinator, and an Assistant Director of the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program as well as an assistant director of the campus writing center.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Armenia
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Armenian Studies, International Institute

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