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Armenians in Bulgaria: Identity and Historical Memory

Series: Armenian Studies Series. 20
Availability: Forthcoming
Published: 2021
Page #: xxvi + 366
Size: 8.5 x 11
ISBN: 978-1-56859362-3
appendix, bibliography, index, notes

Quick Overview

This book is a study of the identity and historical memory of the Armenian community in Bulgaria. From an innovative research perspective it presents an analysis of various events and people who have been remembered by the Armenians in Bulgaria - from the historical memories of events and people from the past, the present-day Armenian identity emerges. This perspective of the topic has been achieved by analyzing historical sources and historiographic writings, researching periodicals and the Internet, conducting anthropological interviews and surveys among the Armenian community. Thus, based on a rich array of sources, this book outlines the place of the Armenian media maintaining the identity of a group within a diaspora, numerous aspects of the historical memory and collective identity of the Armenians in Bulgaria, and the various factors which have impacted on their form and function in the present-day context.
Chapter 1 (Memory and Identity. History and Memory) deals with the theoretical foundations on which the book rests. It introduces the main theoretical concepts, especially the connection between history and memory, cultural memory and historical memory. There is a systematic presentation of the mainstream theoretical frameworks and a survey of the most important present-day studies on the topic. A central point in the present research is the distinction between communicative memory and cultural memory. The sociocultural specifics of phenomena such as historical memory and collective memory have been studied thoroughly along the lines of issues dividing and uniting. These concepts have been introduced with a view to their key roles in the construction of individual and collective identity.
Chapter 2 (Armenians in Bulgaria during the Middle Ages. Sources. Historiography) presents a systematic survey of the evidence for the presence of Armenians and Paulicians in Bulgaria during the Middle Ages. It analyzes in detail the hypothesis about the Armenian origin of Tsar Samuil and Grigorii Bakuriani who exist in the Armenian collective memory and identity. A vast array of sources in various languages and from various periods have been studied and the claims of a number of researchers of the Armenians on the Balkan peninsula during the Middle Ages have been analyzed. The history of the Paulicians and their ethnic characteristics (8th c. – 12th c.) have been discussed.
Chapter 3 (Periodical Press and Internet Sources of the Armenian Community – Instruments for Constructing and Maintaining Historical Memory) studies the media and more specifically the periodical press which have contributed to the construction of the Armenian identity. The systematic survey of the major publications among the Armenian community in the 20th c. outlines the major topics of the memory of historical figures from the Middle Ages, and the ways this memory has impacted on the construction of the Armenian identity. The analysis has been substantiated by a quantitative presentation of the frequency of the various topics and rubrics. The conclusions about the construction of the identity of the Armenian community, the role of its educated elite and the role of the printed and electronic media in this process are also based on researching the Internet about the available information about the Armenians in Bulgaria and medieval figures of Armenian descent.
Chapter 4 (Historical Memory from the Perspective of Social Sciences) deals with the historical memory from an anthropological and sociological point of view. Based on interviews and questionnaires with various people who have memories of the past, the author outlines the mechanisms of the collective memory of the Armenian community in Bulgaria, the signs of identification and the generators of the historical memory for the community. This empirical research provides information about the ways events and people from the Middle Ages and later have been reflected in the memory of the Armenian community and built its collective identity. This chapter provides typologies of the events and people present in and absent from the collective memory but linked with the history of the community. What stands out are the family, scientific literature and mass media which maintain the levels of being informed and up-to-date of the significant memories of the Armenian community in Bulgaria. The results of the analysis are summarized in the conclusion of this book and the hypotheses postulated at the beginning have been confirmed.
This book offers comprehensive and systematic research about the historical memory as an entry point to the identity of the Armenian community in Bulgaria. Using a complex approach incorporating the methodological tools of several research paradigms, the author presents the characteristics of the cultural memory and identity of the Armenian community. This model of a multifaceted analysis of the various aspects of the collective memory and identity of the Armenian community in Bulgaria can be applied to studying the culture of other ethnic communities as well as the mechanisms of constructing collective identities of well established or more recent diasporas.

Nikolai Vukov
Associate Professor, Ph.D.
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

author

Takuhi Tavityan

Takuhi Tavityan holds a PhD in the field of Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Sciences, a Master's degree in Journalism, Advertising and PR (Media Communication) and a Bachelor's degree in Ethnology. Dr. Tavityan is an expert in culture, religion, and ethnicity. Her scientific interests are in the fields of culture and cultural heritage, identity, and ethnic studies among others. Having graduated from Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, she joined prestigious international scientific organizations. Her passionate work on national and international projects have inspired her scientific publications as well as allowing her to acquire extensive experience in media and PR. In 2018 Takuhi became a member of the Plovdiv European Capital of Culture team. At present, she works in the Department of Culture, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Plovdiv Municipality.

Acknowledgments vii

Figures and Tables ix

Introduction xi

1

MEMORY AND IDENTITY. HISTORY AND MEMORY. 1
THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS AND DEFINITIONS

2

ARMENIANS IN BULGARIA DURING THE MIDDLE AGES. 34
SOURCES HISTORIOGRAPHY

3

PERIODICAL PRESS AND INTERNET SOURCES OF THE 103
ARMENIAN COMMUNITY – INSTRUMENTS FOR
CONSTRUCTING AND MAINTAINING HISTORICAL MEMORY


4

HISTORICAL MEMORY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE 141
OF SOCIAL SCIENCES


5

CONCLUSION 215


APPENDICES

Appendix 1. 225
Population profile according to faith and denomination

Appendix 2. 226
Catalogue of Armenian Personalities and Families Connected with Bulgaria in the Middle Ages, According to Sources and Scholarship

Appendix 3. 259
An ossuary as a source

Appendix 4. 263
Typikon

Appendix 5. 264
Data About Parties

Appendix 6. 265
Review of Regular and Occasional Rubrics in Periodicals: “Hayatert” (Armenian Newspaper), “Balkanyan Mamul” (Balkan Press), “Paros” (Pharos/Lighthouse), “Ardziv” (Eagle), “Bardez” (Garden), “Hayeli Ashharhi” (Mirror of the World)

Appendix 7. 268
Typology of the Places of Memory in Plovdiv

Bibliography 291

Index

6/18/2021

 
Dr. Tavityan's book presents the results of a comprehensive study about the role of historical memory in the process of Armenian identity construction in Bulgaria. Skillfully combining data and theoretical approaches to history, anthropology and sociology, she has extended her research over a wide time span (from the Middle Ages to the present day) to show how and to what extent knowledge and awareness of the past determine Armenians' contemporary understanding of the world and themselves. The rich sources which have been carefully selected and analyzed, as well as her field research, contribute to the validity and reliability of the conclusions drawn – i.e. the generators of historical memory are the family and language, but also the sense of belonging to the Christian community, institutions (school, church, media) scientific knowledge, and so on.
Prof. Maria Schnitter, D
Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv
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