Ararat-Eskijian Museum NAASR UCLA Armenian Music Program UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies UCLA Department of Comparative Literature UCLA Promise Armenian Institute UCLA Richard Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History UCLA Working Group in Memory Studies
On Zoom and the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute YouTube channel.
DR. CAREL BERTRAM, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
DR. MELISSA BILAL, Associate Director, UCLA Armenian Music Program
For many Armenians whose homeland is the Western Armenia of the Ottoman Empire, now in eastern Turkey, “memory” ended with the genocide in and around 1915. For them, no more “homeland” memories could originate or take place there. But the children and grandchildren of genocide survivors who travel “home” from their various diasporas, are giving new meaning to historical memory by inserting themselves in its arc. Between 2007 and 2015, Carel Bertram traveled with many self-described pilgrims on dozens of homecoming trips led by Armen Aroyan, and A House in the Homeland chronicles what she saw.
In this talk, Dr. Bertram describes how, with luggage filled with stories heard from their own family members, including those transmitted through the songs they sang, the dances they danced, the foods they made, and even through their screams in the night, pilgrims understood that they were visiting a sacred landscape, albeit one violated by the profane. In this fraught yet transcendent place, pilgrims invent a series of rituals so that village by village, town by town, or even house by house, they ritually connect with their own ancestors, and, as they stand on their own ancestral land, allow them to be a part of their personal story in the present. Through these rituals, the pilgrims themselves are deeply changed, but so too is their own memory of homeland and even the meaning of homeland itself.
UCLA Promise Armenian Institute
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research NAASR
UCLA Armenian Music Program
UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
UCLA Department of Comparative Literature
UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History
UCLA Working Group in Memory Studies
Purchase A House in the Homeland from the NAASR Bookstore.