Dr. Robert H. Hewsen, Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies at Fresno State for the fall 2001 semester, will speak Dec. 6 on “The Conversion of the Armenian People” as the final lecture of a three-part series on “The Conversion of Armenia to Christianity,” which is part of the Second Annual Henry S. Khanzadian Kazan Lectures in Armenian Studies.

The lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Alice Peters Auditorium of the University Business Center on the Fresno State campus. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in Lots A and J, near the University Business Center.

Hewsen will discuss how the Catholicos Sahak the Great, with the support of King Vramshapuh and the collaboration of St. Mesrob Mashtots, brought about the “grassroots” conversion of Armenia, and how the attempt of the Persians to suppress the new religion led to the Vartanants War and to the irrevocable acceptance by the Armenians of Christianity as the national faith.

Hewsen has taught Russian and Byzantine history at Rowan University near Philadelphia for 33 years, and Armenian history as a visiting professor at The University of Michigan (1979), The University of Pennsylvania (1980-1983), The University of Tübingen, Germany (1984, 1987), The University of Chicago (1991, 1999) and at Columbia University (1994, 1999).

He has visited Armenia six times since 1961, the Turkish provinces of Armenia in 1998 and 1999 and Karabagh in 2000. Besides numerous articles, his publications include an English translation of a major medieval Armenian geographical text (Wiesbaden, 1992) and a 278-map Historical Atlas of Armenia (Chicago, 2001).

He currently is working on a book on the Armenia national movement in 18th century Armenia, and another on the conversion.

For more information on the Lecture Series, contact the Armenian Studies Program office at 278-2669.