GLENDALE, Calif. – Arpi Sarafian’s 235-page anthology, Endless Crossings: Reflections on Armenian Art and Culture in Los Angeles, has just been published by the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada as part of its ongoing publication series.
In a wide-ranging and diverse mix of essays published over a span of over thirty years Sarafian explores the complexities of the immigrant experience. In a new definition of reality, she contends, survival requires the negotiation of several worlds. “Ethnic” is past its definition of the clash of two cultures.
Indeed, deconstructing the ethnic/mainstream polarity, that is removing Armenianness, and by extension any other ethnicity, from opposition to the “System,” may just be the only hope for survival, if at all possible, for Armenians in the Diaspora. The author would like to see the hyphen dropped from Armenian-American (as well as from Chinese-American, Mexican-American or from any other hyphenated American) as it creates a hierarchy which inevitably leads to the valuing of the so-called “majority” culture and the belittling of the “other,” the “lesser” culture.
A rich and vibrant culture like that of the Armenians is capable of continual renewal and cannot but find its way into the mainstream. Thus, rather than deplore the gradual loss of our ethnic identity, we could help make “ethnic” a relative term with no stigma attached to it.
The book includes reviews of the works of literary figures such as Leon Zaven Surmelian, Peter Najarian, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Aris Janigian, Garin Hovannisian, Tina Demirjian, David Kherdian; artists Kardash Onnig and Seeroon Yeretzian; musicians Arpine and George Pehlivanian; and various theatrical performances, art exhibits and conferences.
Sarafian holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and a B.A. and M.A. from the American University of Beirut. She was a lecturer in English Language and Literature at the California State University, Los Angeles, from 1978 to retirement in 2014. Sarafian has also taught at the California State University, Dominguez Hills and at Loyola Marymount University.