LONDON/NY – I. B.Tauris, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, has announced the publication of an edited volume by Talar Chahinian, Sossie Kasbarian, and Tsolin Nalbantian titled The Armenian Diaspora and Stateless Power Collective Identity in the Transnational 20th Century. The book is part of the series Armenians in the Modern and Early Modern World edited by Bedross Der Matossian. The book is dedicated to Khachig Tölölyan, the founder of Armenian Diaspora Studies.
From genocide, forced displacement, and emigration, to the gradual establishment of sedentary and rooted global communities, how has the Armenian diaspora formed and maintained a sense of collective identity? Building on discussions of Tölölyan’s work and its impact on various conceptualizations of the Armenian Diaspora, in all its heterogeneity, this volume brings together historians, cultural theorists, literary critics, sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists to explore how Armenian Diaspora elites and their institutions emerged in the post-genocide period and used ‘stateless power’ to practice forms of social discipline on collective identity and of belonging and loyalty among Armenians. Focusing on cultural, religious, political and literary production, as well as community groups and leaders in such far-flung cities of the Armenian Diaspora as Amsterdam, Addis Ababa, Aleppo, Beirut, Detroit, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Los Angeles and Paris, this collection offers original insight and novel perspectives on the history and experience of the Armenian Diaspora through the long 20th century, from the role of the fin-de-siècle émigré Armenian press to the experience of Syrian-Armenian refugees in the 21st century. More broadly, this book shows how diasporic history and transnational practice can help re-conceptualize and illuminate non-state forms of power and governmentality, that a diaspora’s statelessness can not only be evidence of its power, but that it can also act as an alternative and complement to the nation-state.
The volume is divided into three sections, each featuring a set of chapters that engage with one of Khachig Tölölyan’s key theoretical contributions to Diaspora Studies.
The first section “The Logic of the Sedentary”: Complicating Notions of Home and Homelands includes chapters by Boris Adjemian, “In Search of the Sedentary: Rethinking Homelands in the Armenian Diaspora,”; Gegham Mughnetsyan, “Armenian Displaced Persons: From Displacement to a Diaspora Community,”; and Nare Galstyan, “Diaspora-Homeland elations Re-examined: The case of Syrian Armenian in the Netherlands.”
The second section “Diasporic Social Formation”: Leadership Elites, Institutions, and Transnational Governmentality includes chapters by Hasmik Khalapyan, “Forging Diasporic Identity in the Fin de Siècle Armenian Periodical Press in Europe,”; Vahe Sahakyan, “Transnational Politics and Governmental Strategies in the Formative Years of the Post-Genocide Armenian Diaspora (1920s-1930s),” Lilit Keshishyan, “Defiant Adherence: Cultural Critiques in Late Twentieth Century Armenian Diaspora Literature,”; and Christopher Sheklian, “The Liturgical Subject of the Armenian Apostolic Church: Recent Waves of Migration.”
The third section “The Social Text of Diaspora”: Diasporic Becoming and Legibility in Diaspora’s Semantic Domain includes articles by Sylvia Alajaji, “Sounding Armenian: The Contours of the Diasporic Musical Imaginary,”; Karen Jallatyan “Toward the Diaspora”: The Performative Powers of Vahé Oshagan’s Poetry,”; Talin Suciyan, “The Armenians in Turkey: From Autochthonous People to Diaspora,”; and Hrag Papazian, “Are Istanbul Armenians Diasporic? Unpacking the Famous Debate.”
The Afterword to the book is written by Khachig Tölölyan and the Epilogue by Sebouh Aslanian.
Chahinian, Kasbarian, and Nalbantian commented on the book saying: “This project was developed in a protracted period of multiple crises. Working together, as editors, was a source of support not just to bring this volume to fruition, but also one of comfort, refuge, and solidarity throughout our daily experiences and struggles across three countries and time zones. Our gratitude goes to all the authors in this collection for their intellectual camaraderie and especially to Khachig Tölölyan, whose body of work, mentorship, intellectual generosity, and vision has inspired and guided this collection and the intellectual paths of its editors and contributors. We dedicate this book to him and to his future students.”
Bedross Der Matossian (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), the editor of the series highlighted the importance of the volume saying: “This is the most important edited volume on the Armenian Diaspora published in the last decade. By bringing together a new generation of scholars from different disciplines, Chahinian, Kasbarian, and Nalbantian have raised the bar of the discourse on Diaspora Studies that goes beyond simple representations of the different Armenian communities to a sophisticated interdisciplinary analysis of diaspora(s) in the local, regional, and global contexts.”
Talar Chahinian lectures in the program for Armenian Studies at UCI, where she is also visiting faculty in the Department of Comparative Literature. She is the author of Stateless: The Politics of the Armenian Language in Exile (Syracuse University Press, 2023) and co-edits Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies.
Sossie Kasbarian is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Stirling. She is co-editor of Diasporas of the Modern Middle East – Contextualising Community. (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) and co-editor of Diaspora– A Journal of Transnational Studies.
Tsolin Nalbantian is Associate Professor of Modern Middle East History at Leiden University. She is the author of Armenians Beyond Diaspora: Making Lebanon Their Own (2020) and co-editor of Practicing Sectarianism: Archival and Ethnographic Interventions on Lebanon (2022).
Copies of The Armenian Diaspora and Stateless Power Collective Identity in the Transnational 20th Century, are available for purchase from the Bloomsbury Press website. Use code: GLR AQ7 to receive a 35-percent discount.