Fresno State’s Armenian Studies Program presents a major international conference on campus March 18 and 19 that will explore new facets of the Armenian Genocide.

The free, public conference, “Empire, Politics, and War: The Armenian Genocide within the Context of the Ottoman Empire” featuring an international group of scholars, begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the University Business Center Room 191.

The conference reconvenes at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with several presentations in the Whitten Room of the Fresno State Smittcamp Alumni House (2625 E. Matoian Way — enter at Shaw and Maple avenues).

Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, dean of the College of Arts & Humanities, and Dr. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, director of the Armenian Studies Program, will welcome the participants Friday night.

Also Friday night, Dr. Stephan Astourian, director of the Armenian Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley, delivers the keynote address, “Armenian Genocide Studies: Development as a Field, Historiographical Appraisal, and the Road Ahead.”

Following the keynote address, presentations will be made Friday by:

  • Varak Ketsamanian of the University of Chicago-Center for Middle Eastern Studies — “The Hunchakian Party and the Assassination Attempts Against Maksudzade Simon Efendi and Khoren Ashekian;”
  • Anna Aleksanyan of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center at Clark University — “From Adana to Bolis: Zabel Yesayan’s Letters to Tigran Yesayan in 1909;” and
  • Dr. Yektan Turkyilmaz (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin) “War and Genocide: Rethinking WWI and the Path to the Armenian Catastrophe.”

Saturday opens with a presentation by Dr. Sergio La Porta, Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at Fresno State, followed by panelists:

  • Yaşar Tolga Cora of the University of Chicago — “An Armenian Officer in the Ottoman Army during the Genocide: Memoirs of Kalusd Surmenian” and Dr. Khatchig Mouradian (Clark University) “Concentration Camps during the Armenian Genocide: Power, Collaboration, and Resistance.”
  • Ümit Kurt of Clark University — “Survival Struggles of Aintab Deportees in Salamiyya: Testimonial Accounts of Genocide Survivors Krikor Bogharian and Der Nerses Tavukjian.”
  • Barlow Der Mugrdechian of the Fresno State Armenian Studies Program – “A Survivor’s Memoir: Siranoosh My Child.”

The conference is co-sponsored by the Society for Armenian Studies and the College of Arts and Humanities with the support of the Thomas A. Kouymjian Family Foundation, the Leon S. Peters Foundation and the M. Victoria Kazan Fund for Armenian Studies.

Parking is free on weekends beginning at 4 p.m. Friday.

For more information, contact the Armenian Studies Program at 559.278.2669 or online at