Infidelities: Armenian Studies Otherwise

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Infidelities: Armenian Studies Otherwise

An international conference about new directions in the study of Armenian history, memory, culture, and displacement: Lectures, Films, Art

When and where

Date and time


Slought & LGBT Center (UPenn) 4017 Walnut Street & 118 S 36th St Philadelphia, PA 19104

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About this event

  • 2 days 6 hours
  • Mobile eTicket
"Armenia" cannot lean toward existing theories. It cannot be comfortably located in the generally recognized lineaments of contemporary imperialism and received postcolonialism. It has been too much in the interstices to fit such a location. Its history is diversified, with many loyalties cross-hatching so small a place, if indeed it is more a place than a state of mind over the centuries.

— Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Other Asias

The field of Armenian Studies is in the midst of a sea change. Over the last decade, scholars, and artists have made a bid to shift the field’s focus to a broader range of new, interdisciplinary, and transnational topics through the lenses of critical theory, feminist theory, queer studies, and postcolonial studies. In collaboration with scholars and programs at the University of Pennsylvania, the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Freie Universität Berlin, we are convening an international three-day conference to both mark and shape this auspicious moment.

"Infidelities: Armenian Studies Otherwise" will feature international scholars, writers, curators, filmmakers, visual artists, physical theatre performers, and a sound performer, all of whom work either directly in, or tangentially to, Armenian Studies, to flesh out new visions for the field and for the understanding of Armenianness. Over three days, our aim is to center critical, queer-feminist, postcolonial, and performative approaches to the study of Armenian history, diaspora, memory, language, culture, and displacement within and beyond the Middle East, wider West Asia, and the Americas.

Through a series of panels, performances, and working groups focused around the polyvalent provocation of “infidelity,” we will focus on a spectrum of lively new directions toward which Armenian Studies is currently moving: feminist and queer interventions; cultural studies of hybrid and syncretic identities; aesthetic imaginings of Armenité beyond text and language; new materialisms and revolutionary change in a postsocialist setting; utopian futures beyond the nation-state; necropolitics, post-memory, and alternative imaginaries of the archive in light of the most recent war; as well as postcolonial critiques and visions of “reconciliation.”

At the intersection of the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts, "Infidelities" seeks to open the putative identity “Armenian” to a wide and open-ended field of critical, reflective study and learning. It will augment new avenues for thinking within Armenian Studies through dialogue with scholars positioned outside of the field through interdisciplinary panels that will address an array of topics, including: legacies of land, memory, and trauma; urban place-making in displacement; gendered and racialized embodiment and its discontents across various and hybrid geographies; re-imagining of archives; and queering approaches to culture through experimental film, performance, and sound that decenter nationalism, heteropatriarchy, and the re/production of prescribed identities both in the diaspora and in Armenia itself.


Friday and Saturday open to the public

FRIDAY, March 24, 2023 (9:00am – 7:00pm)

Panel I: Postcolonial Feminist Contestations

Panel II: Re-Imagining Land, Memory, and Trauma

Panel II: Diasporic Locations in Question*

Film Screening 1: Place-Making: Communities in Displacement*


SATURDAY, March 25, 2023 (9:30am – 11:00pm)

PANEL IV: Historical Aesthetics, Aesthetic Histories

Artist Talk & Exhibition, Physical Theatre Performance

Panel V: Re-Imagining Archives*

Film Screening 2: Queering Culture: Shorts*

Literary Launches and Conversation with Author/s & Translator*

Reception, featuring DJ Foozool*

SUNDAY, March 26, 2023 (10:30 – 3:00pm)

(Conference Participants Only)

Roundtable: New Directions?

Breakout Groups

What’s next?

*Event will take place at the LGBT Center (UPenn)


Milena Abrahamian (Writer and Singer, Armenia)

Arpi Adamyan (Artist, Armenia)

Nancy Agabian (Writer, USA)

Micheline Aharonian Marcom (Writer, USA)

Sylvia Alajaji (Franklin & Marshall College, USA)

Özcan Alper (Filmmaker, Turkey)

Hakem al-Rustom (University of Michigan, USA)

Sophia Armen (University of California, San Diego, USA)

Shushan Avagyan (American University of Armenia (AUA), Armenia)

Arlene Avakian (Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA)

Kohar Avakian (Yale University, USA)

Kathryn Babayan (University of Michigan, USA)

Mischa Badasyan (Performance Artist, Russia/Germany)

Houri Berberian (University of California, Irvine, USA)

Tamar Boyadjian (Michigan State University, USA)

Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine, USA)

Mashinka Firunts Hakopian (Berggruen Institute, CA, USA)

Aikaterini Gegisian (Visual Artist, Greece)

Anahit Ghazaryan (Filmmaker, Armenia)

Rachel Goshgarian (Lafayette College, USA)

Armine Hovhannisyan (Artist and Archivist, Armenia)

Marianna Hovhannisyan (Brown University, USA)

Karén Jallatyan (Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary)

Suvir Kaul (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

Ania Loomba (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

Joanne Nucho (Pomona College, USA)

Tsomak Oga (Artist and Musician, Armenia)

Ayşe Parla (Boston University, USA)

Lusine Sargsyan (Psychologist, Armenia)

Nelli Sargsyan (Emerson College, USA)

Lara Sarkissian (Musical Artist, Iran/USA)

Elyse Semerdjian (Whitman College, USA)

Gayane Shagoyan (National Academy of Sciences, Armenia)

Eric Shahinian (Filmmaker, USA)

Anna Shahnazaryan (Civil Activist, Armenia)

Lousine Shamamian (Filmmaker and Comedian, USA)

Tamar Shirinian (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)

Anoush Suni (Northwestern University, USA)

lucine talalyan (Artist and Filmmaker, Armenia)

Melanie Tanielian (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA)

Méliné Ter-Minassian (Performance Artist, France)

Hrag Vartanian (Founder and Curator of Hyperallergic, USA)

This program is made possible through generous support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Society for Armenian Studies, the Middle East Center (MEC) at Penn, and also at the University of Pennsylvania, the following sponsors:

Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory; Department of English; LGBT Center; Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Cinema Studies; Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES); Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS); The Kutchin Seminar Series in the Jewish Studies Program; Department of the History of Art; Annenberg Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC); Theorizing; Lauder Institute; Wolf Humanities Center; SASgov; GAPSA; Gen/Sex; Penn Women's Center; Annenberg School of Communication; Department of Linguistics; the SAS Conference Support Grant; and the University Research Foundation Award

** A limited number of group rate rooms are available at The Study

Act fast and mention you’re staying with the Infidelities conference! **

The Study at University City

20 S 33rd St

Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 387 - 1400