“Rationalizing the Irrational: Can Reason Persevere in the Age of Twitter?” Workshop

poster for event: man grabbing ballons with happy faces on them

Thanks to social media, readers can engage with content like never before. But the incentives behind the media platforms we use don’t always encourage our best behavior, or most reasoned arguments. The interactions we are subject to are often anonymous, dehumanizing, and polarizing. As a result, social media can easily become a breeding ground for hatred and bullying.

Whereas prior to the pandemic, this dynamic was buffered by meaningful, in-person debate and interaction; amidst the backdrop of COVID-19, which has trapped the nation indoors and behind screens, it can start to feel like the out-of-touch abstractions of the digital world are slowly becoming reality…are they?

As a new organization that is responsible for hosting thought-provoking events and stimulating conversations in the progressive Armenian community, Zoravik is navigating this fragile territory along with the rest of you. In hopes of being transparent about how we are handling threats to rational discourse, on Wednesday, August 19, we are hosting the event “Rationalizing the Irrational: Can Reason Persevere in the Age of Twitter?,” hosted by Zoravik members Karine Vann, a freelance journalist and former editor of the Armenian Weekly, and Lisa Gulesserian, a preceptor at Harvard.

In it, we hope to address the discrepancy between life in analogue and what we see in depictions online. How can we stand by our values of civility, balance, nuance, intellectual curiosity, logic, reason, and kindness when these qualities are so rarely rewarded by the technologies and institutions at the helm of the nation?

An Evening with Srpuhi Dussap and Zabel Yessayan

profile photos of zabel yessayan and srpuhi dussap

Join us for an intimate evening discussion about Srpuhi Dussap and Zabel Yessayan.

Well known during their lifetimes, Srpuhi Dussap and Zabel Yessayan wrote books about women’s rights, human rights, and Armenian life during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian International Women’s Association, AIWA, recently published the translations of Yessayan’s The Gardens of Silihdar, My Soul in Exile, and In the Ruins and Dussap’s novel Mayda: Echoes of Protest. The editors will discuss the transformation of the Armenian language and society which inspired these pioneering works.

Registration for Zoom meeting through the Armenian Institute.

Panelists

Lisa Gulesserian
Preceptor of Armenian at Harvard University

Judith A. Saryan
Zabel Yessayan champion, former financial manager and VP

Danila Jebejian Terpanjian
Librarian at Harvard University (retired)

Joy Renjilian-Burgy
Associate Professor of Spanish at Wellesley College

 

Mayda Book Launch Party

cover of mayda book

Join us for an intimate discussion about the first Armenian feminist novel.

Srpuhi Dussap’s 1883 novel calling for the equal rights of women and social justice for everyone entertains the reader with criticisms of 19th century Armenian society in Istanbul and relevant themes of work and motherhood, religion and ignorance, love and marriage.

Don’t miss this fascinating discussion about Dussap’s life, her influence on Zabel Yessayan, and the sensation her novel caused in Istanbul.

Registration for Zoom Webinar through AIWA.

Panelists

Lisa Gulesserian (moderator)
Preceptor of Armenian at Harvard University

Barbara Merguerian 
Co-Founder of AIWA, Author, and Board VP of the Armenian Museum of America

Judith A. Saryan
Zabel Yessayan champion, former financial manager and VP

Danila Jebejian Terpanjian
Librarian at Harvard University (retired)

Joy Renjilian-Burgy
Associate Professor of Spanish at Wellesley College

 

Creative Writing in Armenian: Poetry Workshop

I am leading a two-day creative writing workshop for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at NAASR in Belmont, MA. Participants will be introduced to the poetic language, the haiku poetic form, and old and new examples of haiku poems.

By the end of the workshop, students will produce Instagram-able short poems in the haiku form in the language of their choice—English or Armenian.

neMLA: Regional Wounds, Universal Traumas, and the Possibility of Empathy

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Regional Wounds, Universal Traumas, and the Possibility of Empathy (Part 2)

Roundtable with:
Chair: Maryam Ghodrati, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Chair: Rachel Dale, Brandeis University
Location: ORLEANS (Media Equipped)

Comparative Literature & Interdisciplinary Humanities

“Chang-rae Lee and the Traumatic Affect of the Gesture” Susan Moynihan, Tennessee Technological University
“Narrativizing Empathy in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost HappinessSabiha Anum, Government College University Lahore Pakistan
“Art from Guantánamo Bay: The Figural Unsettlement of Western Hegemonic History” Macy McDonald, SUNY University at Buffalo
“Past Dark: War and Armenian Genocide Postmemory in Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Daydreaming BoyLisa Gulesserian, Harvard University

Bilingualism: The Challenges and Benefits of Learning and Living in Multiple Worlds

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Join us for a discussion on:
BILINGUALISM: THE CHALLENGES AND BENEFITS OF LEARNING AND LIVING IN MULTIPLE WORLDS

MODERATED by Dr. Anna Ohanyan, Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Stonehill College

FEATURING
Dr. Lisa Gulesserian, Preceptor on Armenian Language and Culture, Harvard University
Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director, Armenian Prelacy of the Eastern United States
Dr. María Luisa Parra-Velasco, Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages & Literatures Harvard University

Soccer or Saturday School? Parents in diasporic communities routinely grapple with the challenge of carving out time for their children to engage with and experience their ancestral cultures. This panel discussion will discuss the value of bilingual education, looking at experiences of other ethnic communities in the U.S. and around the world, with a particular focus on the specificities of the Armenian experience, including the special challenges facing Western Armenian, which has been classified as an “endangered language,” the fruitful cohabitation of Western and Eastern Armenian, and the specific challenges of researching and teaching the Armenian language.

In recognition of the increased attention to these and related issues, portions of the St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School documentary “Armenian Bilingualism in America: Preserving Language & Identity” will be shown and copies of the volume Western Armenian in the 21st Century: Challenges and New Approaches, edited by Bedross Der Matossian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, published by the Society for Armenian Studies, will be available for purchase.

CO-SPONSORS
Harvard Armenian Student Association
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research – NAASR / Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Issues
St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School

Free and open to the public.

Creative Writing in Armenian: Poetry Workshop

I led a two-day creative writing workshop for Hamazkayin ArtLinks 2019 in Paris, Ontario, Canada. Participants were introduced to the poetic language, the Հայրէն (“hayren”) poetic form, and old and new examples of Հայրէն poems.

By the end of the workshop, students produced Instagram-able short poems in the hayren form in the language of their choice—English, French, or Armenian.

Armenia’s Velvet Revolution After Six Months: Beyond the Headlines

Panel Discussion Moderated by Dr. Lisa Gulesserian
Lecturer on Armenian, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard University

PANELISTS:

Anush Hambaryan (Harvard Kennedy School, Master in Public Policy Candidate)
Harout S. Manougian (Harvard Kennedy School, Master in Public Administration Candidate)

Dr. Anna Ohanyan (Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Stonehill College)

Armenia’s Velvet Revolution, though the result of years of pent-up anger and frustration, unfolded in spring 2018 with dizzying speed. One moment it appeared that Serzh Sargsyan and the Republican Party would continue their grip on power and all that goes with power in an Armenia dominated by oligarchs; then, practically before anyone knew what had happened, the Armenian people asserted their will, and, incredibly, without violence, power passed from Sargsyan to the people’s choice, Nikol Pashinyan. At a time when many democracies are drifting towards authoritarianism, Armenia stood as a bright exception.

Almost six months later, inevitably, the realities of governing, of addressing the problems of the past and of the future, and building the new Armenia, have created challenges. In this panel discussion, we will attempt to move beyond the headlines to discuss some key fundamental issues including systemic and structural changes that must take place to strengthen Armenia’s democracy; changes to Armenia’s electoral code; the complexities of Armenia’s foreign relations; efforts to combat institutionalized corruption; addressing gender inequality; and more.
Free and open to the public. Reception and refreshments immediately following the program and question-and-answer session.

 

LOCATION and TIME
Please note this event takes place in the Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall in Harvard Yard (Mass Avenue entrance near Widener Library) and begins promptly at 7:30 pm.

CO-SPONSORS
AGBU Young Professionals of Boston
Electoral Reform Society, Harvard Kennedy School
Harvard Armenian Student Association
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research – NAASR /
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Topics

Ahead of Time: Exploring the Relationship Between Ancient and Modern Armenian Studies

Chair: Lisa Gulesserian, Lecturer on Armenian Language & Culture, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard University
Graduate Student Co-chair: Julia Hintlian, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Harvard University

The Hrant Dink Memorial CMES Fund presents a panel discussion on Armenian Studies featuring

Christina Maranci, Tufts University
David Zakarian, Oxford University
Marie-Aude Baronian, University of Michigan
Sylvia Alajaji, Franklin & Marshall College

Panel
Vardges Sureniants (1860-1921): Modern Painter of Medieval Heritage
Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art and Architecture, Chair, Dept. of Art and Art History, Tufts University

Women and the Armenian Church: Past and Present
David Zakarian, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Pembroke College, Oxford University

The Diasporic Life of Material Objects
Marie-Aude Baronian, Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Manoogian Guest Professor, University of Michigan

Past and Present in Counterpoint: A Meditation on the Legacy of Komitas Vartaped
Sylvia Alajaji, Associate Professor of Music, Chair, Dept. of Music, Franklin & Marshall College