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Challenging Entrenched Categories: Re-Exploring Approaches to Armenian Literature

Sixth Annual International Graduate Student Workshop

This workshop invites conversations surrounding Armenian literary sources, by asking participants to consider, challenge, and offer theoretical and methodological alternatives to frameworks presently utilized in studying Armenian literature from the classical to the contemporary period. By both tracing and problematizing the formation of discourses shaped through European perspectives and scholarly approaches – practices which have contributed to an understanding of the literary traditions of Europe and the “east” as fragmented, antagonistic, and disparate – this workshop invites participants to engage in discussions pertaining to how Armenian literature could be explored and contextualized under the umbrella of larger, non-compartmentalized geographic and conceptual frameworks; and whether Mediterranean, Post-colonial, Diaspora, and other studies can be effective ways of approaching Armenian texts, across all periods.

In its consideration of how rigidly defined disciplinary boundaries in the study of national literatures include built-in notions of exclusion and self-referentiality, this workshop encourages critical dialogue surrounding the following types of questions:
(1) What are some effective ways in which Armenian literary texts can connect with larger intellectual discourses?
(2) What types of specific frameworks could be utilized in studying Armenian literature, and how would they facilitate cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature as a whole?
(3) How might proposed alternate frameworks differ from past approaches? Can they be deemed both effective and suitable approaches to studying Armenian literary texts?
(4) How might reading Armenian texts alongside other literary traditions expose moments of intercultural exchange and acculturation; and in what ways could these types of readings contribute to better understanding cultural intersections and textual transmission from the classical to the contemporary period?
(5) How might these types of discussions be applied to the study of other areas and fields in the Armenian tradition, and how might they work differently in other disciplines?

Organizer: Tamar Boyadjian, assistant professor of English and medieval literature, Michigan State University
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When and Where

Map School of Social Work Building - 1644

April 2015

9:00am - 4:00pm
9:00am - 4:00pm

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