Vartan Matiossian

SAS and NAASR to Host Roundtable Discussion on Vartan Matiossian’s The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide


FRESNO — The Society for Armenian Studies (SAS) and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will host a roundtable discussion on Vartan Matiossian’s The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide: Language, History and ‘Medz Yeghern,’ published recently by I.B.Tauris, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, as the inaugural book in the Armenians in the Modern and Early Modern World series. The event will be held on Thursday, November 11, at 7:30 pm (Eastern Time). The program will be accessible live on Zoom (registration required) and on SAS’s YouTube Channel. To register please visit:

The round table will feature Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine), Bedross Der Matossian (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), who is the series editor of the Armenians in the Modern and Early Modern World series, and Marc Mamigonian (NAASR).

Dr. Vartan Matiossian is executive director of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Church in New York City. A historian and literary scholar, over the past thirty-five years he has published eight books on Armenian history, literature, and language in Armenian, English, and Spanish, along with twenty-two books in Spanish and English translation, and several edited volumes. He has also published scores of articles, translations, and essays in the Armenian and non-Armenian press.

This book explores the genealogy of the concept of Medz Yeghern (‘Great Crime’), the widely used Armenian term for the annihilation of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire between the years 1915-1923. Vartan Matiossian has tackled a subject both omitted and misinterpreted in the historiography, taking a combined historical, linguistic, literary, and political perspective. He has drawn upon an impressive collection of Armenian literary and periodical sources, as well as other European languages in order to trace the development of the concepts pertaining to mass killing and genocide of Armenians from the ancient to the modern periods. The book is an insightful exploration of the politics of naming a catastrophic historical event, with a careful analysis of the use and abuse of Medz Yeghern, by the Vatican, Turkey, and the United States over the past two decades and its repercussions in the Armenian realm.

Khachig Tölölyan, emeritus Professor of Letters at Wesleyan University, has noted that the book “offers a matchless analysis of texts ranging from newspaper articles and books to 114 monuments and shows how diplomats seeking to evade the moral and legal consequences of fully acknowledging the genocide sought to use the Armenian term for shameful camouflage.”

Philosopher and literary critic Marc Nichanian, author of The Historiographic Perversion, has added that The Politics of Naming the Armenian Genocide is “… an erudite overview of the uses of the Armenian word Yeghern across the ages and an in-depth study of the systematic misuses of this same word in translation within the languages of the civilized world, especially in the last few decades, allegedly for the sake of reconciliation or for more obscure reasons.”

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For more information about the event, contact Bedross Der Matossian at


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