Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient

RECREATING KHARPERT IN MASSACHUSETTS ~ Thursday, January 25, 2024 ~ On Zoom/YouTube

Gregory Aftandilian Kharpert NAASR

Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 7:30 pm Eastern / 4:30 pm Pacific

Live on Zoom. Registration required and free.

Livestream on the NAASR YouTube Channel.

GREGORY AFTANDILIAN, Senior Professorial Lecturer, American University, Washington, DC

There is a special connection between Armenian Americans of Massachusetts and the Ottoman province of Mamuret ul-Aziz, which the Armenians called Kharpert. Kharpert Armenians began arriving in Massachusetts, particularly in the Worcester area, beginning in the mid-19th century, though the bulk of the immigration resulted from the Hamidian massacres (1894-1896) and later the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The survivors of these calamities faced the fact that there were no homes or homeland to go back to. To ease such dislocations, the survivors settled in Armenian communities in America where their fellow provincial compatriots had already laid down roots. Social life among this generation was largely confined to people from their own province.

Gregory Aftandilian will consider how provincial identities from the former Ottoman Empire were so strong and durable for at least two generations in America, despite assimilation trends. Having lost everything in their homeland—family members, homes, farms and businesses—they did their best to recreate Kharpert in Massachusetts as a coping mechanism for the trauma they endured in addition to helping them adjust to a strange new land and society.

Gregory Aftandilian is Senior Professorial Lecturer at American University in Washington, D.C., where he teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy and Middle East politics. He spent over twenty years in U.S. Government service where he was a foreign policy advisor to Congressman Chris Van Hollen, professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and foreign policy adviser to Senator Paul Sarbanes, and foreign policy fellow to Senator Edward Kennedy. Prior to these Congressional positions, he served as a Middle East analyst in the State Department.

Aftandilian is the author of the book Armenia: Vision of a Republic. The Independence Lobby in America, 1918-1927 and numerous articles on Armenian-American history. He holds a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago, and an M.Sc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He served on NAASR’s Board of Directors from 2005-2019.

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)

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