Prof. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh

Berberian’s and Zeitlian Watenpaugh’s Books Chosen for SAS Outstanding Book Award


FRESNO — The Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) announced that Houri Berberian’s Roving Revolutionaries: Armenians and the Connected Revolutions in the Russian, Iranian, and Ottoman Worlds (Oakland: UC Press, 2019) and Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh’s The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice (Stanford University Press) have been chosen as the recipients of the Der Mugrdechian SAS Outstanding Book Award for 2018-2019. An honorable mention has been awarded to James Barry’s Armenian Christians in Iran: Ethnicity, Religion, and Identity in the Islamic Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Established in 2015, the “Der Mugrdechian SAS Outstanding Book Award” accepts nominations for works that advance knowledge and scholarship on Armenian society, culture, and history from ancient times to the present. Professor Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno and a past President of SAS, has generously offered to sponsor the award for the next five years.

According to the selection committee, both Roving Revolutionaries and The Missing Pages demonstrated substantive knowledge and an overall high level of scholarship. The “Der Mugrdechian SAS Outstanding Book Award” covered works published in 2018 to 2019. Berberian and Zeitlian Watenpaugh will each receive a $500 monetary award from SAS and receive a certificate of recognition.

SAS President Bedross Der Matossian commented on the awards stating, “I would like to congratulate Houri Berberian and Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh for this great achievement. This year we received more than a dozen books for the award. All of them were excellent books from different disciplines in the field of Armenian Studies. The level of competition was very high and a testament to the fact that the field of Armenian Studies is evolving in a very positive manner. I would like to thank the four senior scholars of the selection committee who rigorously examined all of the books.”

In her book Roving Revolutionaries, Berberian probes the interconnected aspects of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the Iranian Revolution 1905-1911, and the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the role of the Armenian revolutionaries. The movements of these Armenians and their participation within and across frontiers provides us a unique global insight into the major transformations that shaped the modern period. Through extensive archival work, Berberian examines the circulation of revolutionary ideas, revolutionaries, and printed material. By doing so she provides a novel approach to our understanding of revolutions and revolutionary movements.

Houri Berberian is Professor of History, Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies, and Director of the Armenian Studies Program at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of a number of articles on Armenians and revolution, Armenian women and identity. She is the author of Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911: The Love for Freedom Has No Fatherland (Westview, 2001).

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Thanking the Society of Armenian Studies and the selection committee, Prof. Berberian commented: “Please accept my most sincere gratitude for selecting my book, Roving Revolutionaries, as a co-recipient of the ‘Der Mugrdechian Armenian Studies Book Award.’ I am doubly delighted and honored that I share the recognition bestowed by the Society for Armenian Studies with my University of California colleague Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh. The award acknowledges the significance of studying Armenians within a broader regional and global context and of engaging with theoretical approaches such as connected histories. Through their geographic and ideological boundary crossings, Armenians serve as ideal subjects who connect early twentieth-century revolutions. Please extend my thanks to the jury members and to the donor who made the prize possible.”

Houri Berberian

In The Missing Pages Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh reconstructs the life of the Zeytun Gospel from the medieval period until its final destination in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Though an analysis of the biography of the manuscript, she tells the larger story of the Armenians and the suffering they endured during the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Following the journey of the missing pages of the manuscript, Zeitlian Watenpaugh weaves together a beautiful story of an art work from resilience to the will to survive extermination against all odds.

Zeitlian Watenpaugh is professor of art history at the University of California, Davis. She is the award-winning author of The Image of an Ottoman City: Architecture in Aleppo (2004). Her writing has also appeared in the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

Thanking the Society of Armenian Studies and the selection committee, Zeitlian Watenpaugh commented, “I am honored to have received this award, and I am thrilled to be a co-winner with the brilliant scholar and my friend, Professor Houri Berberian. That this award comes from the Society for Armenian Studies is deeply meaningful, as the members of the Society know first-hand the challenges and obstacles of researching Armenian topics. I am honored to be a member of a Society that not only promotes excellence in research, but also fosters a supportive and convivial community of scholars from around the world. To me, this award celebrates Armenian art history in general, and the wonderful exhibitions and books on Armenian art that have appeared in the last couple of years. I hope this award inspires people to discover and re-discover medieval Armenian art, its astonishing beauty, and continued contemporary relevance.”

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