Арутюнов С. А. To be or not to be (Ethnography of Memory)
Sergei A. ARUTYUNOV — Member of the RAS, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Russian Academy of Science (Russia, Moscow)
ABSTRACT. This text can be attributed to the genre of a scientific memoir essay in which the author-researcher speaks from the first person about his own feeling, experience and awareness of ethnicity. Among “different bloods” that mixed in him, one provides the defining identity (the author’s belonging to the Armenian people) and the others just complements it. The author names Russian and Georgian as his native languages, and his life trajectory includes a number of episodes of the growth of Armenian self-consciousness. The mutual projections of personal perception and academic knowledge of the ethnic history of Armenians create a kind of personified ethno-historical panorama, and the discussion and comments of the “grave wars” and “neighbors wars” that take place before our eyes reveal the hidden, but significant nuances of the Armenian relations within the space of Caucasus, Russia and the diaspora. It is noteworthy that episodically and occasionally, the ethnic concepts may change, but interethnic relations remain relevant and from time to time acquire conflict-forming forms, as the 1915 genocide of Armenians traumatizing people’s memory or smoldering and at any moment ready to break out the Karabakh Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Many memorial symbols and designations, including names and renames of streets, burials, gravestones and inscriptions on them, are significant for the “ethnography of memory.”
KEYWORDS: Caucasus, Armenians, Geor gians, Azerbaijanis, monument of culture, khachkar, diaspora
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