Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient


Aronian Prize Winners Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prizes for Excellence in Armenian Studies Gohar Muradyan Henry Shapiro NAASR Vartan Matiossian

The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) is pleased to announce the 2023 Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prizes for Excellence in Armenian Studies, jointly awarded to Dr. Vartan Matiossian for The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide: Language, History and ‘Medz Yeghern’ (I. B. Tauris, 2022) and Dr. Henry Shapiro for The Rise of the Western Armenian Diaspora in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Edinburgh University Press, 2022); and to Dr. Gohar Muradyan for the English-language translation Ancient Greek Myths in Medieval Armenian Literature (Brill, 2022), a translation of Հին հունական առասպելների արձագանքները հայ միջնադարյան մատենագրության մեջ (2014).  The 2023 awards are for books with a 2022 publication date.

NAASR’s Aronian Book Prizes were established in 2014 by the late Dr. Aronian and Dr. Geoffrey Gibbs, to be awarded annually to outstanding scholarly works in the English language in the field of Armenian Studies and translations from Armenian into English.

“In a year with numerous ground-breaking scholarly works, it is a pleasure to recognize these three that cover such a wide range of topics with admirable scholarly rigor,” commented NAASR’s Director of Academic Affairs Marc Mamigonian.

Vartan Matiossian’s The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide explores the genealogy of the concept of ‘Medz Yeghern’ (‘Great Crime’), an Armenian term for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. The work draws upon extensive research based on Armenian sources, neglected in much of the current historiography, as well as other European languages in order to trace the development of the concepts pertaining to mass killing and genocide of Armenians from the ancient to the modern periods. In so doing, it makes important original contributions to our knowledge of the language used to refer to the Armenian Genocide—and the uses and abuses of language.

Dr. Matiossian, a scholar of Armenian history, literature, and language, is the Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and book review editor for Armenian Review.

Matiossian commented that “I am deeply grateful to NAASR for bestowing this truly humbling honor upon a book that was not born from my main lines of research, but from an intrinsic wish to show how knowledge of the Armenian language and Armenian sources truly matters when it comes to the Medz Yeghern, the Great Crime of genocide against the Armenians, and the everlasting attempts at its denial. I hope that my incursion into genocide scholarship and the adjacent territories of language, history, and politics may serve as a corrective and a reminder in these sad times when words are being twisted and perverted to the point of being unrecognizable.”

Dr. Henry Shapiro is an Ottoman historian at the Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul, Turkey. The Rise of the Western Armenian Diaspora in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire, based on his 2018 Princeton doctoral thesis, traces how Armenian migrants changed the demographic and cultural landscape of Istanbul and Western Anatolia in the course of the 17th century and adds a great deal to our knowledge of a hitherto understudied but crucial chapter in Armenian (and not only in Armenian) history.

Reached by email, Shapiro remarked, “I am truly honored to have won the Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies. It takes many years to write a book, and appreciation of this kind is very valuable and motivating. Moreover, I am grateful to NAASR for having supported research for my monograph. Now I feel all the more motivated to work on the next one!”

Dr. Gohar Muradyan is a philologist and translator. She is a senior researcher and head of the Department for the Study of Translated Literature at the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts / Matenadaran in Yerevan. Ancient Greek Myths in Medieval Armenian Literature brings together all the known references to ancient Greek myths in medieval Armenian literature. Alongside the original Armenian passages and, when extant, their Greek originals, Muradyan provides annotated English translations.

When informed of the prize, Dr. Muradyan replied that “I am delighted to be awarded this prize and I thank you heartily.”

Authors or publishers wishing to submit books for consideration for future Aronian Prizes may contact NAASR Director of Academic Affairs Marc A. Mamigonian at

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