FRESNO — Dr. Roberta Ervine (St. Nersess Armenian Seminary), the 12th Henry K. Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor of Armenian Studies at California State University, Fresno, will give three public lectures on the general theme of “ In the Harsh Light of Genocide: Insights of Selected Armenian Thinkers” in the Spring 2016 semester.

The first lecture in the series, “Armenians on Immortality” will take place at 7:30PM on Monday, February 29, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus. An hors d’oeuvres reception will take place from 6:30 to 7:30PM in the University Business Center Gallery, just prior to the lecture.

The Genocide forced Armenians to reconsider their human experience in the light of mass death and dislocation. In an insecure and threatening world, what can one depend on? Is there a life after death, and if so, who is in charge of it? Where does it happen? What is it like? What qualities make a person, a community, or an ethnic group immortal? This lecture will explore writers of the new, post-Genocide thinking on the topic of immortality, and look at where Armenians turned to find inspiration and consolation in the decades immediately following the Genocide.

The Armenian Genocide restructured Armenian thinking in many ways. On an almost week-by-week basis, Armenian periodical literature from the 1920’s and 1930’s records the process by which these changes worked themselves out in the minds of survivors and Diaspora Armenians alike. What was essential going forward? How would the worldwide Diaspora remain Armenian? How should Armenians greet the founding of an Armenian state? What can be said concerning the fundamental values of humanity in the face of widespread and wanton death and destruction?

None of these questions found an easy answer in the mind of Armenian thinkers. This series of lectures will focus on questions from the Genocide period that are as relevant now as they were a century ago. The spectrum of thinking about these deep, human and Armenian matters reveals a range of experience and willingness to engage with difficult issues that will surely resonate with the Armenians of today.

Lecture II in the series, on Wednesday, March 30, will be on the topic of “Armenians on What Matters Most.”

Lecture III in the series, on Wednesday, April 27, will be on “Holy Vengeance: Three Hierarchs of the Genocide Speak to America’s Armenians.”

Roberta Ervine earned her Ph.D. in classical Armenian Studies from Columbia University and has done extensive research on topics related to medieval Armenian studies. Prof. Ervine pursues topics related to the history of Armenians in Jerusalem and the intellectual tradition of the Armenian Middle Ages (particularly the thinking of Vanakan Vardapet, Vardan the Great and Hovhannes of Erznka). She is also interested in medieval Armenian grammatical texts. Dr. Ervine has been professor of Armenian Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary since 2001, where she has taught courses on Classical and Modern Armenian Language, Church history, and Armenian Spirituality.

Dr. Ervine has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has conducted post-doctoral study in the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University.
The lectures and reception are free and open to the public. Free parking is available, using parking code 273615 (go to parking kiosks in the area) at Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center.
For more information about the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at

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