Tag Archive | Rhode Island

Jiray: Identity in Nagorno-Karabakh

My name is Jiray and I am a senior at Bennington where I study anthropology. My senior work has taken the shape of a thesis on the Nagorno-Karabakh War (fought between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the late 80s/early 90s). Here is where things get interesting! Originally, I had planned to travel to Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) for my independent study in order to interview Karabakhtsis (Armenian term for people who live in NKR) on Armenian social identity (i.e. various traditions and practices that make Armenians in distinct form others). Unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, I was unable to travel to Armenia or NKR. In light of those changes, I will be undertaking my independent study in Rhode Island, where I am from.

photo 2 (3) In many ways this adjustment has been an ongoing challenge, but in the week that I’ve spent preparing my reoriented IS, I realized a number of really important things I may have taken for granted had my plans gone accordingly. In conversations with Noah and Mirka, I realized that doing participant observation amongst Armenians (especially in disparate places like NKR and the northeast United States) begs the question: where does one observe a diaspora community? What common denominator ties these geographically separated populations together? Is it possible to link observations and interviews done in an Armenian community in Providence, RI to the lived experience of those Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh?

I realized that, as Razmik Panossian puts it, the Armenian “nation” is Read More…