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Dikranagerd/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa Conference at UCLA
by Harout Semerdjian, UCLA, History and Near Eastern Studies, November 6, 1999
Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 08:04 PM CT

LOS ANGELES, California (UCLA) - New generation scholars in Armenian Studies will join their senior colleagues at UCLA on the weekend of November 13-14 to participate in the Dikranagerd/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa conference. This sixth international symposium on Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces will take place, Saturday, November 13, 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 14, 1:30-6:00 p.m. The conference organizer is Richard Hovannisian, A.E.F. Chair holder in Armenian History at UCLA.

First-time participants in the series include three scholars from Paris. On November 13, Claire Mouradian, a historian who has written several volumes on Soviet Armenia and the Caucasus, will present a new file of documents based on the correspondence of the French consul at Dikranagerd/Diarbekir in 1895 and demonstrating the organized nature of the Armenian persecutions. Raymond Kevorkian, who directs the Nubarian Library and has published extensively about Armenian history, will present (in Armenian) the changes that were registered in the population statistics between 1895 and 1914. Vahe Tachian of the School of Social Sciences in Paris will speak on the expulsion of the Armenian survivors of the Diarbekir and Urfa districts in the years between 1923 and 1930.

Arriving from Oxford University, England, will be senior scholar Robert Thomson, who will speak on Early Armenian Christianity and Edessa, and Ph.D. candidate, Tim Greenwood, who will examine the Armenian presence in Edessa after the Muslim Conquest. The Muslim conquest of both Diarbekir and Edessa will be discussed by Byzantinist Walter Kaegi of the University of Chicago. Ara Dostourian of West Georgia State University will present the Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa (Matteos Urhayetsi) and its importance as a source of Medieval Armenian history.

The early history of Dikranagerd or Tigranakert will be presented by senior scholars Robert Hewsen of Rowan University, a specialist in historical geography; Levon Avdoyan of the Library of Congress, who will try to answer the questions of exactly when, where, and why was the fabled city that bears the name of Tigran the Great; and James Russell of Harvard University, who will consider the literary and historical aspects of the epic of Tigran the Great.

New-generation scholars Christina Maranci and Bert Vaux will make presentations both on Amida/Diarbekir and on Edessa/Urfa. Maranci will present the art and architecture of the two regions, and Vaux will present the Dikranagerd and Urfa Armenian dialects. Hasmig Injejikian, a Ph.D. candidate in ethno-musicolology at the University of Montreal, will focus "Es kisher," a song associated with Dikranagerd. Musicologist Bedros Alahaidoyan of Glendale will present selections of the music of both Dikrnagerd and Urfa.

Other youthful presenters include Hilmar Kaiser of Bochum University in Germany and the European University Institute in Florence, who will discuss the fate of the Armenians of Diarbekir in 1915, and George Aghjayan of Worcester Massachusetts, who will examine the history and demography of the Armenian villages of the Palu district. Carlos Bedrossian, M.D., of Northwestern University re-creates the Armenian self-defense of Urfa in 1915.

The place of Diarbekir in the writings of American Armenian authors Peter Najarian, Peter Balakian, and Michael Arlen will be assessed by David S. Calonne of Wayne State University. A photographic display of Armenian historic monuments of Urfa will be exhibited by attorneys Richard and Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht of Davis, California.

Richard Hovannisian will make the introduction on Armenian Dikranagerd/Diarbekir on November 13 and on Armenian Edessa/Urha/Urfa on November 14.

The international conference is open to the public at no charge. Parking is available in UCLA structure no. 3, Hilgard Avenue, just south of Sunset Boulevard. For further information or a conference brochure, telephone mornings: 310-825-3375, or e-mail:

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