FRESNO — Dr. Arsen Saparov (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor) and Dr. Ara Sanjian (University of Michigan-Dearborn), will speak on Karabagh at 7:30 PM on Friday, November 15, 2013, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus. Dr. Saparov will speak on “Drawing Borders in the Caucasus the Early 1920’s” and Dr. Sanjian will speak on the topic of “Irredentism at the Crossroads of Nationalism, Communism and Diverging Interpretations of the Soviet Experience: The Armenian Diasporan Press on Mountainous Karabagh, 1923-1985”

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Fall Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the Armenian Students Organization at Fresno State and is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

The Soviet leadership often stands accused of deliberately drawing internal frontiers in the Caucasus as to create leverage against union republics. Violent conflicts that broke out in the 1990s in Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia seem to prove this perception. In his presentation, Dr. Saparov will discuss the logic of the Bolshevik boundary-making in the South Caucasus. Dr. Saparov was educated at Central European University in Budapest and received his Ph.D in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

The formation of the Mountainous Karabagh Autonomous Region within the territory of Soviet Azerbaijan in 1923 coincided with the emergence of the post-genocide Armenian Diaspora. The vast majority of political organizations and political-minded activists in the Diaspora envisaged a future Armenian state, which would encompass within its borders not only Western Armenia but also the Armenian-inhabited regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhichevan, and Akhalkalak, which had become recently part of Soviet Azerbaijan and Soviet Georgia. In this latter case, the political realities exacted that the demand should be focused on their immediate annexation to Soviet Armenia.

However, because there was a sharp divergence among the Diasporans in the attitude toward Communism as an ideology and in evaluating the Soviet experience in Armenia, the demands for the annexation of Mountainous Karabagh to Soviet Armenia raised in different Diasporan periodicals were pursued at varying degrees of frequency and intensity, and the arguments put forward by these periodicals were at times different.

Dr. Sanjian, Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, will discuss the differing approaches of the news media to the Karabagh issue.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Free parking is available after 7:00PM in Lots A and J, near the University Business Center. For more information on the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669.

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