Prepared by CRRC-Armenia International Fellow Benjamin Barnard
On March 21st, 17 students from New York University Abu Dhabi attended lectures at CRRC Armenia as part of their Spring School Programme in Ethnography. The students who came from countries spent a total of 3 days in Armenia, with the goal of contemplating how Armenian identity was created, and how it is expressed today. Political expert Alexander Iskandaryan of the Caucasus Institute gave a lecture about the current political situation in the country in light of the forth-coming elections, and Dr. Levon Abrahamian of the Institute of Anthropology and Archeology at Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences spoke on the issue of the Karabagh movement and national identity. Finally,CRRC Armenia Country Director, Dr. Heghine Manasyan spoke to the students about the issue of socio-economic developments in Armenia during the transition period.
In addition to this lecture series, the students, led by Professor Georgi Derluguian of Northwestern University, U.S. (who is currently teaching at NYU, Abu Dhabi), also gained some more hands-on experience to aid their studies. They visited various sites in Yerevan, such as the Central Bazaar and the Sergei Paradjanov Museum among other places, in order to make some first-hand ethnographical observations. On the final day of their visit they ventured into the countryside to visit various cultural monuments such as Geghard monastery and the excavated site of Erebuni fortress. While there they were given lectures on the history of the sites by local experts and were challenged to think about the role of that history in the formation of modern Armenian identity.