The Armenians

From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars

Razmik Panossian

Columbia University Press

The Armenians

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Pub Date: May 2006

ISBN: 9780231139267

492 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $65.00

Pub Date: May 2006

ISBN: 9780231511339

492 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99

The Armenians

From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars

Razmik Panossian

Columbia University Press

The Armenians traces the evolution of Armenia and Armenian collective identity from its beginnings to the Armenian nationalist movement over Gharabagh in 1988. Applying theories of national-identity formation and nationalism, Razmik Panossian analyzes different elements of Armenian identity construction and argues that national identity is modern, predominantly subjective, and based on a political sense of belonging. Yet he also acknowledges the crucial role of history, art, literature, religious practice, and commerce in preserving the national memory and shaping the cultural identity of the Armenian people.

Panossian explores a series of landmark events, among them Armenians' first attempts at liberation, the Armenian renaissance of the nineteenth century, the 1915 genocide of the Ottoman Armenians, and Soviet occupation. He shows how these influences led to a "multilocal" evolution of Armenian identity in various places in and outside of Armenia, notably in diasporan communities from India to Venice. Today, these numerous identities contribute to deep divisions and tensions within the Armenian nation, the most profound of which is the cultural divide between Armenians residing in their homeland and those who live in the United States, Canada, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Considering the diversity of this single nation, Panossian questions the theoretical assumption that nationalism must be homogenizing.

Based on extensive research conducted in Armenia and the diaspora, including interviews and translation of Armenian-language sources, The Armenians is an engaging history and an invaluable comparative study.
Inspired and thoughtful. Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs
[A] fascinating and important book. Christopher J. Walker, The Weekly Standard
"Panossian's present work...succeeds in conveying the convoluted evolution of Armenian nationalism." Leon Torossian, The European Legacy
A first rate piece of scholarship. William Safran, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
Remarkably balanced, empirically sound, and theoretically engaging. Levon Chorbajian, Slavic Review
The most meticulously researched and scholarly study of the development of Armenian national identity ever written. Ralph M Coury, American Historical Review
The most sophisticated and comprehensive analysis of the development of self-understanding. International Journal of Middle East Studies
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. The Initial Building Blocks: From the 'Beginning of Time' to the 17th Century
3. Merchants, Diasporan Communities, and Liberation Attempst: the 17th to the 19th Century
4. The Multilocal Awakening: The Consolidation and Radicalisation of Collective Identity in the 19th Century
5. Revolutionary Parties and Genocide, Independence and Sovietisation: Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
6. Differing Identities: Soviet Armenians, Diaspora Armenians, 1921-87
7. Strengthening National Identity, Soviet style, 1921-87
8. Conclusion: a Multilocal Nation Continues
Bibliography
Index

Winner, 2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

About the Author

Razmik Panossian is the director of programmes and policy at Rights and Democracy in Canada.