Richard Hovannisian

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Richard Hovannisian
Richard G. Hovannisian is Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He served as the Associate Director of the G.E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies from 1978 to 1995. A member of the UCLA faculty since 1962, he has organized the undergraduate and graduate programs in Armenian and Caucasian history. Dr. Hovannisian, a native of Tulare, California, received his B.A.(1954) and M.A.(1958) degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D.(1966) from UCLA. He was also Associate Professor of History at Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles, from 1966 to 1969. In 1987, Professor Hovannisian was appointed the first holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History at the UCLA. Dr. Hovannisian is the author of Armenia on the Road to Independence (1967, 1969, 1974, 1982); The Republic of Armenia, Volume I (1971, 1974, 1982, 1996), and Volume II (1982, 1996), Volumes III-IV (1996); The Armenian Holocaust (1980); has edited and contributed to The Armenian Image in History and Literature (1981), The Armenian Genocide in Perspective (1986), The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (1992); The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, 2 volumes (1997); Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide (1998), Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases (1999), Armenian Van/Vaspurakan (2000), Armenia at the Dawn of the Century (2000), Taron/Moush and Baghesh/Bitlis (2001), Kharperpt/Tsopk (2002) and seven books on Near Eastern society and culture. He has also published more than fifty scholarly articles.

Richard Hovannisian is a Guggenheim Fellow and has received many honors for his scholarship, civic activities, and advancement of Armenian Studies. His biographical entries are included in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Writers' Directory, and a number of other scholarly and literary reference works. Dr. Hovannisian is a founder and three-time president of the Society for Armenian Studies and represented the State of California on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) from 1978 to 1994. He serves on the board of directors of nine scholarly and civic organizations, including the Facing History and Ourselves Foundation; the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide; International Alert; the Foundation for Research on Armenian Architecture; and the Armenian National Institute (ANI). He is a member of the editorial boards of the Armenian Review, Ararat, Human Rights Review, Journal for the Society for Armenian Studies, and Mitk, and has made numerous television and radio appearances on issues relating to the Armenian people and Armenian, Near Eastern, and Caucasian history. He has been honored by His Holiness Karekin I with the Medal of St. Mesrop Mashtots for his advancement of Armenian Studies. In 1990, Richard Hovannisian was elected to the Armenian Academy of Sciences, becoming the first social scientist living abroad to be so honored. He has received honorary doctorates from Yerevan State University (1994) and Artsakh State University (1997). In 1998, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the First Republic, Dr. Hovannisian was presented the Movses Khorenatsi medal and award by the President of the Republic of Armenia. On November 9, 2001 a Jubilee honorary celebration marked more than 40 years of Dr. Hovannisian's truly exemplary academic and personal life as a scholar, teacher, mentor and a friend. In 2002, the President of Artsakh on behalf of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh personally presented to Dr. Hovannisian the Republic's Medal of St. Mesrop Mashtots.

Contents

Oral History Project

For nearly 40 years, UCLA professor Richard Hovannisian has overseen a project - the largest oral history project in the Armenian community - to interview survivors and record stories like Kadorian's.

Students in his course were each required to interview 10 survivors, recording their memories on audio cassette tapes.

Just before the 90th anniversary this year of the mass killings, commemorated on April 24, the 72-year-old professor reached a landmark: He digitized all 800 interviews conducted by his students over the last four decades.

Of the hundreds of people his students interviewed, Hovannisian believes no more than 25 are still alive.

For More Details See: Armenian Genocide Oral History Project

Text from "Armenia on the Road to Independence 1918"

Page 52

When reports of massacre reached Henry Morgenthau, the American Ambassador to Constantinople, he tried to mitigate the suffering of the Armenians. Enver and Talaat initially denied the validity of the news, but finally Talaat admitted that action against the Armenians stemmed from a carefully planned policy of Ittihad ve Terakki. He accused the Armenians of enriching themselves at the expense of the Turks, aspiring to establish a separate state, and actively assisting the enemies of the Empire. He concluded :

It is no use for you to argue, we have already disposed of three quarters of the Armenians; there are none at all left in Bitlis, Van, and Erzerum. The hatred between the Turks and the Armenians is now so intense that we have got to finish with them. If we don't they will plan their revenge.59

Ottoman ofllcials seemed surprised that Morgenthau, a Jew, should concern himself with the problems of Christians. In response to one of the Ambassador's appeals, Enver answered, "... in time of war, we cannot investigate and negotiate. We must act promptly and with determination. He added that the deportations, thoroughly legitimate and justifiable, had been ordered by decision of the entire cabinet.60

Within a year, attempts to intercede were of little practical value, for few Armenians remained in their native provinces. Whereas most Armenians of Cilicia and western Anatolia perished along the deportation routes or after reaching the Syrian desert, the majority in the eastern provinces were massacred outright and thus spared the prolonged agony.61 The only major exception was Van. Among the government's initial measures was the segregation of the Ottoman Armenian soldiers, who were serving on several fronts. Forced to relinquish their weapons, these men were driven into special military labor battalions, assertedly created to facilitate communication and transportation. The disarmed soldiers were then slaughtered.62

If the apologists for Turkish policies have shaped a credible case against the Armenians, the critics have refuted the arguments point for point and have concluded that the deportations and massacres were calculated, irresponsible, and brutal crimes. Utilizing scores of documents and the testimony of many European witnesses, these critics have insisted that the overwhelming majority of the Armenians fulfilled every obligation of Ottoman citizenship during the first months of war. Exhortations of the Patriarch, the revolutionary organizations, and many other societies urging the Turkish Armenians to maintain a correct attitude have been cited. Moreover, the dedication of Armenian soldiers was acknowledged by Enver himself, who, upon returning from the Sarikamish debacle, informed the Patriarch and other high-ranking clergy of the unsurpassed bravery of these troops.63

The gravest Turkish accusation involved Armenian rebellion during time of war; the "Revolt of Van" became the classic charge. The Lepsius-Toynbee school of critics labeled the indictment as fabrication. The city rose in self-defense only after the deportations and massacres had begun in Cilicia and after Jevdet Bey, brother-in-law of Enver and Armenophobe vali "("governor") of Van, had ordered the destruction of Armenian villages in the outlying districts.64 If, as Turkish sources claim, the revolt were premeditated, why would Ishkhan, popular leader of the Van Armenians, leave the city at the behest of the vali to restore peace between feuding Moslems and Christians in an isolated upland of the vilayet? Only after the treacherous murder of Ishkhan, the imprisonment of Arshak Vramian, a member of the Ottoman parliament, and the siege of the Armenian quarter by Jevdet's forces did Van rise in self-defense, barricade the streets, and inauguratein the last half of April, 1915, the monthlong obdurate resistance. This sequence of events was substantiated by testimony of American eyewitnesses.65

Turning from the question of Van, the castigators of Turkish policies then negated the other contentions. The hopeless battles in the interior of Turkey at Shabin Karahisar, Urfa, and Cilicia were not indications of an Armenian revolution fermenting throughout the Empire, but simply reflected the resolution of a condemned people to fall fighting rather than be slaughtered. That the Armenians possessed weapons was not astounding; they had carried arms for decades to defend their homes and fields from depredation. Among the photographs published by the Ittihadist government were pictures of bombs and grenades, but these explosives belonged to the era when both Turkish and Armenian opposition groups were struggling against Abdul Hamid II. Since the attempted Hamidian coup of 1909, when Ittihad leaders had requested that these weapons be used against the forces of reaction, they had not been touched by the Armenians.66 To the charge that Ottoman subjects, as volunteers in the Russian Army, viciously attacked the Empire, Arnold Toynbee drew an analogy to the Polish units, which, joining the Austro-Hungarian forces, battled against the tsarist armies. If the entire Armenian nation could be condemned for the activities of several hundred or even several thousand men, then should not Russia, on the same basis, annihilate the millions of Poles within its borders?67

Analyzing the real motivations for Ittihad rmeasures against the Armenians, Johannes Lepsius first summarized the Ottoman charges:

  • Garegin Pasdermadjian (Armen Garo), member of the Ottoman parliament, had deserted to Russia and joined the volunteers.
  • English and French naval commanders had sent agitators into Cilicia where the population was engaged in sabotage and espionage.
  • Armenians in Zeitun had resisted the commands of the military authorities.
  • Turkish opponents of the Ittihadists had contrived against the government and used as accomplices several members of the Hnchakist party.
  • The Armenians of Van had taken up arms against the government.
  • The combatants of Shabin Karahisar had barricaded themselves in the ancient citadel and fought against Turkish troops68

Even if the accusations were true, esclaimed Lepsius, to construe an Armenian revolution from them was fantastic. Not Armenian treachery but the ideology adopted by the Ittihadists was the foundation for the government's action. Nationalism as understood by the "Young Turks" on the eve of the World War necessitated the "Turkification" of all elements of the Empire. As long as there were Armenians, foreign intervention, as experienced during the latest episode of the reform question, would pose a constant threat to the sovereignty of Turkey. Moreover, eradication of the Christian Armenian element from Anatolia and the eastern provinces would remove the major racial barrier between the Turkic peoples of the Ottoman Empire, Transcaucasia, and Transcaspia.69 Enver's dream of a Pan-Turanic empire would be a step closer to realization.70

Published Books

  1. Armenia on the Road to Independence

Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1984 (364 pages)

  1. The Republic of Armenia, Volume I: The First Year, 1918-1919 Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1971, 1974, 1984, 1996 547
  2. The Armenian Holocaust Cambridge: Armenian Heritage Press, 1980 61
  3. The Armenian Image in History and Literature Malibu: Undena Press, 1981 269
  4. The Republic of Armenia, Volume II: From Versailles to London, 1919-1920 Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1982, 1996 603
  5. Islam's Understanding of Itself, ed., Eighth Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference Proceedings Malibu: Undena Press, 1983 149
  6. Ethics of Islam, ed., Ninth Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference Proceedings Malibu: Undena Press, 1985 127
  7. The Armenian Genocide in Perspective New Brunswick: Transaction Press, Rutgers University, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1997 215
  8. The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics London: MacMillan Books, and New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992 362
  9. Poetry and Mysticism in Islam: The Heritage of Rumi, co-editor, Eleventh Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference Proceedings Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994 204
  10. The Republic of Armenia, Vol. III: From London to Sèvres, February-August 1920 Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1996 531
  11. The Republic of Armenia, Vol. IV: Between Crescent and Sickle: Partition and Sovietization Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1996 496
  12. "The Thousand and One Nights" in Arabic Literature and Society, co-editor, Twelfth Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference Proceedings Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 121
  13. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times: Vol. I: The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century New York: St. Martin's Press, and London: Macmillan, 1997 372
  14. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times: Vol. II: Foreign Domination to Statehood: The Fifteenth Century to the Twentieth Century New York: St Martin's Press, and London: Macmillan, 1997 493
  15. The Persian Presence in Islam, co-editor, Thirteenth Giogio Levi Della Vida Conference Proceedings Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 236
  16. Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998 328
  17. Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases, co-editor Atlanta: Scholars

Press, 1999 284

  1. Religion and Culture in Medieval Islam Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999 119
  2. Armenian Van/Vaspurakan Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2000 308
  3. Armanestan dar Astaneye Gharn [Armenia at the Dawn of the Century] Tehran: Housk, 2000 256
  4. Armenian Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2001 235
  5. Armenian Tsopk/Kharpert Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2002 469
  6. Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Confronting the Armenian Genocide New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers 2003 301
  7. Armenian Karin/Erzerum Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2003 442
  8. Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2004 487

Published Articles

  1. "The Armenian Communities of Southern and Eastern Asia," Armenian Review, XV Autumn, 1962 (15 pages)
  2. "The Mesrob Mashdotz Matenadaran," Ararat, IV Spring, 1963 (5p)
  3. "The Formation of the Armenian Republic," Armenian Review, XVII Winter, 1964 (20p)
  4. "The Allies and Armenia, 1915-1918," Journal of Contemporary History, III January, 1968 (24p)
  5. "Simon Vratzian and Armenian Nationalism," Middle East Studies, V October, 1969 29
  6. "The Teaching of Armenian in the United States," ARS Bulletin 1969 4
  7. "The Status of Modern Armenian History," Ararat, XI Spring, 1970 4
  8. "Russian Armenia: A Century of Tsarist Rule," Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, XIX March, 1971 18
  9. "The Armeno-Azerbaijani Conflict Over Mountainous Karabagh," Armenian Review, XXIV Summer, 1971 36
  10. "The Armenian Occupation of Kars, 1919," in Recent Studies in Modern History Cambridge, MA: Armenian Heritage Press, 1972 22
  11. "The Armenian Question in the Ottoman Empire," East European Quarterly, V March, 1972 26
  12. "Armenia and the Caucasus in the Genesis of the Soviet-Turkish Entente," International Journal of Middle East Studies, IV April, 1973 19
  13. Introduction and Appendix in S.E. Kerr, The Lions of Marash Albany: State University of New York Press, 1973 40
  14. "Development of the Armenian Question in the Ottoman Empire," Etudes Arméniennes, I 1973 25
  15. "The Ebb and Flow of the Armenian Minority in the Arab Middle East," Middle East Journal, XXVII Winter, 1974 19
  16. "Dimensions of Democracy and Authority in Caucasian Armenia," Russian Review, XXXIII. Translated to Armenian, Aztak Weekly January, 1974, 1976 13
  17. "The Deportations and Massacres of the Armenian Population of the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1922," Human Rights and Genocide, ed. by V.L. Parsegian New York: Armenian Church Diocese, 1975 12
  18. "Rewriting History: Beyond Revisionism in the Study of Armenian-Turkish Relations," Ararat, XIX Summer, 1978 10
  19. "The Armenian Question," International Journal of Middle East Studies, IX August, 1979 9
  20. "Hai-trkakan Kapere eghernen etk" Armeno-Turkish Relations After the Holocaust April, II April, 1979 5
  21. "The Ninth General Congress of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, 1919," Armenian Review, XXIV. Translated to Armenian, Aztak, Beirut. Spring, 1981 16
  22. "The Armenian Case: In Search of a Just Solution," Address to the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, 1982. Translated to Persian (Alik), Tehran, and Armenian (Aztak), Beirut. Published in Jerusalem, 1982 15
  23. "Armenian Oral History in the United States," Proceedings of the XIV International Historical Congress, Bucharest, 1980, Vol, IV Bucharest, 1982 6
  24. "Parliamentary Government as Modernization in the Republic of Armenia," Armenian Review, XXXI, Spring, 1983 8
  25. "Caucasian Armenia Between Imperial and Soviet Rule," in Transcaucasia: Nationalism and Social Change, ed. by R.G. Suny. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Slavic Studies, 1983. Published as "Arménie: l'intermede de l'indépendence nationale," Esprit, April, 1984 33, 23
  26. "La Question Arménienne, 1878-1923," in Le Crime de Silence: Le Génocide des Arméniens, Preface by Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Also published as "The Historical Dimensions of the Armenian Question," in The Crime of Silence Paris: Flammarion, 1984 / London: Zed Press, 1985 37
  27. "Genocide and Denial: The Armenian Case," in Toward the Understanding and Prevention of Genocide, ed. by Israel W. Charny Boulder and London: Westview Press, 1984 . Expanded version in Greek Athens, 1984 17, 48
  28. "Hai Dasakan Aghbiurneri Targmanutiune Miatsial Nahangneru Medj" The Translation of Armenian Classical Sources in the United States), Istoriko-Filologicheskii Zhurnal, Akademiia Nauk Armianskoi SSR no. 1, 1987 10
  29. "Scholarship and Politics," Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, II 1985-86 17
  30. "The Armenian Genocide," in Genocide: Issues, Approaches, Resources, special issue of Social Science Record, XXIV, 2 , 18-23. Fall, 1987 6
  31. "Khorhrdaranakan Karavarutiune Ibrev Ardiatsum Hayastani Hanrapetutian Medj" (Legislative Government and Modernization in the Republic of Armenia), Droshak (Athens). Special issue on the 70th Anniversary of the Republic of Armenia, XIX, 2-3 , 41-47. May/June, 1988 6
  32. "The Armenian Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review," in Israel Charny, ed., Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review London, Mansell, 1988 Chapter 5 26
  33. "Le Génocide Arménienne," in Arménie: 3000 ans d'histoire, ed. by R.H. Kevorkian and J.-P. Mahe , 323-334. Marseilles: La Maison Arménienne de la Jeunesse et de la Culture, 1988 12
  34. "La Premiere République Arménienne," in Arménie: 3000 ans d'histoire, ed. by R.H. Kevorkian and J.-P. Mahe Marseilles: La Maison Arménienne de la Jeunesse et de la Culture, 1988 23
  35. "The Armenian Genocide: Remembrance and Denial," Rider College Occasional Paper Series, Number 3 Lawrenceville, NJ: Holocaust/Genocide Resource Center, October, 1988 18
  36. "Nationalist Ferment in Armenia," Freedom at Issue, no. 105 November/December, 1988 7
  37. Model Curriculum For Human Rights and Genocide Sacramento: California State Board of Education, 1988 8
  38. "Armenian Memorial Day," Read More About It, Vol, III Ann Arbor: The Pierian Press, 1989 3
  39. "The Role of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in the Republic of Armenia," Armenian Review, Vol. 44/2 Translated into Armenian in Horizon (Montreal, Canada), in Erkir (Erevan, Armenia) and Asbarez (Los Angeles, CA). Summer, 1991 40
  40. "Amerikanskaia Administratsiia Pomoshchi" American Relief Administration Armianskii Vopros Entsiklopediia Erevan: Glavnaiia Redaktsiia Armianskoi Entsiklopedii, 1991 2
  41. "Amerikanskii Komitet za Nezavisimost Armenii American Committee for the Independence of Armenia)," Armianskii Vopros Entsiklopediia (Erevan: Glavnaiia Redaktsiia Armianskoi Entsiklopedii, 1991 1
  42. "Mandat na Armeniiu 1920 Mandate for Armenia, 1920," Armianskii Vopros Entsiklopediia Erevan: Glavnaiia Redaktsiia Armianskoi Entsiklopedii, 1991 1
  43. "Sevrskii Mirnyi Dogovor, 1920 The Peace Treaty of Sèvres, 1920," Armianskii Vopros Entsiklopediia Erevan: Glavnaiia Redaktsiia Armianskoi Entsiklopedii, 1991 2
  44. "Soedinnye Staty Ameriki i Armianskii Vopros The United States of America and the Armenian Question," Armianskii Vopros Entsiklopediia Erevan: Glavnaiia Redaktsiia Armianskoi Entsiklopedii, 1991 3
  45. "Altruism in the Armenian Genocide of 1915," in Embracing One Another, ed. by Samuel and Pearl Oliner New York: New York University Press, 1992 23
  46. "The Armenian Diaspora and the Narrative of Power," in Diasporas in World Politics, ed. by Dimitri C. Constas and Athanassios G. Platias London: Macmillan Press, 1993 20
  47. "The Translation of Armenian Classical Historical Texts in the United States," To Ellinikon: Studies in Honor of Speros Vryonis, Jr. New Rochelle, New York, 1994 26
  48. "Historical Memory and Foreign Relations: The Armenian Perspective," in The Legacy of History in Russia and the New States of Eurasia 1994 39
  49. "Etiology and Sequelae of the Armenian Genocide," in Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions, ed. by George J. Andreopoulos Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994 32
  50. "Mountainous Karabagh in 1920: An Unresolved Contest," Armenian Review, XLVI

1993, 1996 36

  1. "Soedinennye Staty Ameriki i Armeniia: Mandat i Granitsy, 1920 g." The United States and Armenia: Mandate and Boundaries, 1920 (in Russian), Patma-banasirakan handes [Historical-Philological Journal] pt. 1, 1995, pt. 2, 1997 17, 16
  2. "L'hydre à quartre tetes du négationnism: négation, rationalisation, relavisation, banalisation," in L'Actualité du Génocide des Arméniens Paris: Edipol, 1999, pp. 143-176 33
  3. "The Armenian Genocide as a Prototype," Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell, eds. in chief, and Margot Levy, ed.; editor, Margot Levy Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK, and New York: Palgrave, 2001 20
  4. "Confronting the Armenian Genocide," in Pioneers of Genocide Studies, Samuel Totten and Steven L. Jacobs, eds. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers, 2002, pp. 27-46 20
  5. "The Armenian Genocide and US Post-War Commissions," in Jay Winter, ed., America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003 19
  6. “Expulsion and Genocide: The Armenian Case,” in Dieter Bingen, Wlodzimierz Borodziej, and Stefan Troebst,” eds., Vertreibungen Europäisch Erinnern? Historische Erfahrungen.Vergagenheitspolitik­Zukuftskonzeptionen Wiesbaden: Hassassowitz, 2003 6
  7. “The Role of the University Chairs,” and “Relations between Armenian Studies in the U.S. and Armenia,” both in Rethinking Armenian Studies: Past, Present, and Future. Special Issue of Journal of Armenian Studies, 7:2, 2003 12
  8. “Otritsanie genotsida armian kak prototip takogo podzhoda,” Vestnik Armianskogo Instituta Mezhdunarodnogo Prava i Politologii v Moskve, Moscow, 2004 18

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