Rubina Peroomian

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Rubina Peroomian holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA. She has been a lecturer of Armenian language and literature as well as Armenian history and the Armenian Question at UCLA, University of Laverne, and Glendale College. Currently, she is an Associate Researcher at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA.

Her major publications, chapters in books, and research articles in scholarly journals (excluding those in Armenian) include: "Hagop Oshagan's Literature of Catastrophe: The Struggle to Confront the Genocide of 1915,” Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, Vol. 4, 1988-89, pp. 105-142; "The Transformation of Armenianness in the Formation of Armenian-American Identity," in Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, vol. 6 (1992, 1993), published in 1995, pp. 119-145; "How to Read Genocide Literature - The Problematics, the search for a Guideline or a Canon," in International Network on Holocaust and Genocide, April 1996, issues 1-2. pp 22-25; "Dashnaktsutiun-Bolshevik Relations, 1918-20: Dashnaktsutiun's Quest for Peaceful Coexistence," Armenian Review, Special Issue on "The Republic of Armenia, 1918-1920: A Seventy-Five Year Perspective," Guest Editor: Richard Hovannisian, Spring-Winter 1993 (Published in September, 1996), pp.157-182; “Literary Manifestations of Resistance to the Armenian Genocide: A Comparative Analysis of the Jewish and Armenian Cases” in in Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, vol. 10 (1998, 1999(2000)), pp. 99-110; Literary Responses to Catastrophe: A Comparison of the Armenian and the Jewish Experience (Scholars Press, 1993), A Struggle to Comprehend the Catastrophe and Survive: A Comparison. . (Yerevan, 2003), "Armenian Literary Responses to Genocide: The Artistic Struggle to Comprehend and Survive," in The Armenian Genocide, ed. R. G. Hovannisian (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1992), pp. 222-249; "The Armenian Genocide and the Literature of Diaspora," in The Armenian Question, a special volume of the Soviet-Armenian Encyclopedia in the Russian Language (Erevan, 1993), pp. 135-137; "Problematic Aspects of Reading Genocide Literature, A Search for a Guideline or a Canon," in Remembrance and Denial, The Case of the Armenian Genocide, ed. R. G. Hovannisian (Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1999), pp. 175-186; "A Commentary - A Comparative Approach to the Circumstances, Aspects, Manifestations, and Elements of the Jewish and Armenian Enlightenment and Modernization," in Enlightenment and Diaspora, The Armenian And Jewish Cases, edited by Richard G. Hovannisian and David N. Myers, (Scholars Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 1999), pp. 209-221; “3000 Year History at a Glance,” a historical survey in English and Armenian published as the Introduction to the Armenian Embroidery, published by The Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon, 1999, pp. XVIII-XXV and LXVI-LXXV; “The Heritage of Van Provincial Literature” in Armenian Van/Vaspurakan, Richard G. Hovannisian ed. (Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Press, 2000), pp. 133-152; “A Struggle to Comprehend the Catastrophe to Make Survival Possible: A Comparative Study of the Armenian and the Jewish Responses to Catastrophe” in Remembering for the Future – 2000, The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, John K. Roth and Elizabeth Maxwell eds. in chief (Palgrave, Mc Milan’s Global Academic Publishing, 2001) pp. 814-830); “The Armenian Genocide Through Art and Literature” in Anatomy of Genocide, State-Sponsored Mass-Killings in the Twentieth Century, Alexandre Kimenyi and Otis L. Scoth eds. (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2001 pp. 395-409; “New Directions in Literary Responses to the Armenian Genocide,” in Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Confronting the Armenian Genocide, Richard G. Hovannisian ed. (Transaction Publishers, 2003) pp. 157-180.


Historical Memory and the Contemporary Literature of Armenia (An Abstract)

Rubina Peroomian

History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. It continuously goes through reevaluation and restructuring through time, especially in the light of exigencies and determinants of the time. Traumatic events, such as the Armenian Genocide, with a permanent impact on the course of history have left their indelible imprint on the collective memory, historical memory of the nation. Generations of survivors have tried to deal with that memory to interpret and reinterpret, evaluate and reevaluate the event and the impact. This continuous endeavor has resonated in the culture, especially the literature of the nation. The Armenian Diaspora literature is evidence to this phenomenon and thus a repository of responses to genocide. And I have duly dealt with the subject. But the literature of Armenia?

The Soviet regime in Armenia prescribed and imposed the rupture of historical memory. In an attempt to create the new Soviet citizen with a sense of belonging solely to the big homeland, the Soviet Union, the policy of forgetting the past, severing ties with the past and looking forward to the bright future that Communism promised was adamantly and strictly implemented. Speaking or writing about the Armenian Genocide was scorned and labeled as Masochism.

Is the absence of literary responses to Armenian an evidence of the fulfillment of the prescribed rupture? This paper will examine voices in literature that speak of the continuum of historical memory no matter what the official line. It will trace the covert responses and their stemming into irredentism. It will examine the new voices and the trends in dealing with the memory of Genocide in an atmosphere of free and independent Republic, within the magnetic field of the Armenian Diaspora literature freely and indiscriminately available in Armenia, and as a determinant in the current Turkish-Armenian relationship.

Ninety years after the Genocide the memory is still a source of pain as well as artistic inspiration.


At (UCLA) participated in “The Armenian Genocide and Historical Memory, Challenge of the Twenty-First Century” Conference, UCLA, April 8, 2000. She presented a paper: “New Directions in the Literary Responses to Genocide.” She was the keynote speaker at the Armenian Genocide commemoration, organized jointly by the San Francisco Armenian organizations, April 15, 2000.

She participated in The Annual Conference of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada, May 28-31, 2000. Paper presented: “When Death is a Blessing and Life a Prolonged Agony, Women Victims of Genocide.”

She participated in The Armenian Literature of the Last Decade,” Conference, June 29, 2000, organized by the Armenian Academy of Sciences, The Manouk Abeghian Institute of Literature, Erevan, Armenia. She presented a paper: “The Recent Literary Expressions of Armenian Genocide Written in English.”

She prepared Haykakan Hartsi Patmutiun (History of the Armenian Question), a textbook for the 9th grade, published by the Ministry of Education, Armenia, to be introduced in high schools in Armenia as a pilot program beginning from September 2000 and she conducted three workshops for history teachers in Erevan, Vanadzor, and Ashtarak on how to teach the newly published History of the Armenian Question textbook by this author, organized by the Ministry of Education, Armenia, June 24, 26, 30, 2000.

She participated in “Remembering for the Future-2000, The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide,” An International Conference, Oxford and London, July 16-23, 2000. She presented a paper: “A Struggle to Comprehend the Catastrophe to Make Survival Possible: A Comparative Study of the Armenian and the Jewish Responses to Catastrophe.”




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