Armeno-Indica: Four Centuries of Familiarity and Friendship
March 17 – March 18
This event is organized by the UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History.
Friday, March 17, 2023, | 10:00 AM – 6:30 PM (Pacific Time)
Saturday, March 18, 2023, | 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Postponed due to the pandemic, this international conference celebrates the bicentenary of the founding of Kolkata’s famed Armenian College (est. 1821), one of three centers of Armenian higher learning in the diaspora during the nineteenth century and the only one that has survived and is thriving today. Bringing together economic, literary, legal, and cultural historians from India, Armenia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, the conference highlights how, beginning in the early modern period and continuing to the present, Armenians have traveled to India to make its distant shores and cultures their own. India looms large in the Armenian social imaginary. It was not only the place where the first Armenian proto-constitution for an “imagined” nation-republic was published (Madras 1788/9), it was also the cradle of the first Armenian newspaper (Madras, 1794-1796), the first modern Armenian play (Calcutta 1823), and arguably also where the first Eastern Armenian novel appeared (Calcutta, 1846), as well as where the first Armenian “feminist” tract (Calcutta, 1847) was published.
Gathering an international group of scholars, Armeno-Indica explores the Indo-Armenian saga in South Asia from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. The themes to be explored include the connected economic, literary, legal, and political histories of Armenians and Indians in South Asia and beyond across the waters of the Indian Ocean. The keynote for the conference will be delivered by Professor Sanjay Subrahmanyam.
Please fill out the form for providing RSVP for in-person attendance. The form is located at the following hyperlink: https://sscucla.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bgcerNdYzuQgRHU
VENUE: UCLA Royce Hall 314 and Fowler Museum
Alternatively, you may attend this conference using zoom with prior. Here is the hyperlink that will lead you to the form that needs to be filled out: http://bit.ly/armenoindica-virtual
Friday, March 17, 2023 (Royce 314, UCLA)
Welcoming words: Amy Landau and Ann Karagozian
(10:00 AM – 10:15 AM)
Introduction to the conference: Sebouh David Aslanian
(10:15 AM – 10:30 AM)
Panel 1: Trade, Law, and Go-Betweens (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Santanu Sengupta (Kolkata): “Negotiating with Law: Phases of Armenian Interaction with the Early Colonial Law Courts in India.”
Xabier Lamikiz (University of the Basque Country /Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU): “Armenian Merchants from Madras in Eighteenth-Century Spanish Manila: A Story of Love and Hate.”
Ruquia Hussain (Aligarh Muslim University, AMU): “Of Sarhad and Calcutta: The English East India Company, Khwāja Israel di Sarhad and the Foundation of Modern Calcutta.”
Sona Tajiryan (Gemological Institute of America, GIA): “How to Choose and Buy Pearls? An Eighteenth-Century Armenian Guide on the Pearl Trade in India (1730s).”
Discussant: Glenn Penny (UCLA)
Lunch Break: Balcony of Royce 306 (12:30 PM – 1:30 PM)
Panel 2: Language and Literary Revival (1:30 PM-3:00 PM)
Ahona Panda (Claremont McKenna): “Ajab Shahar Calcutta: The Outsider in the Bengal Renaissance.”
Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine): “Mobilizing Subjectivity in the Practice of the Nation: Tagheadeants‘s’ Case for Women’s Education.”
Peter Cowe (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA): “Intertextuality and Innovation: Mesrop Taghiadeants‘ and his Experimentation with the Novel Genre in Comparative Perspective.”
Discussant: Houri Berberian (University of California, Irvine)
Coffee Break: (3:00 PM – 3:15 PM)
Panel 3: Armenian Historiography and Print Culture in Madras (3:15-5:00PM)
Martin Adamian (UCLA, graduate student): “Mesrovb J. Seth, Father of Indo-Armenian Historiography.”
Anna Sirinian (Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, Università di Bologna): “Azdarar (1794-1796): The First Armenian Periodical in the World.”
Hasmik Kirakosyan (Senior Researcher, Mashtots Repository of Manuscripts, Yerevan): “Harutiwn Shmavonean an Armenian Printer-publisher in Madras and a Farman for Printing in Arabic script in Madras.”
Discussant: Nile Green (UCLA)
Panel 4: History in the Present (5:00 PM – 6:30 PM)
Armen Arslanian: (Warden of the Armenian Church of Dhaka, Bangladesh): “The Armenian Church of Dhaka (Bangladesh) and the task of Heritage preservation.”
Vache Tadevosyan: (Community leader, Kolkata, India): “The Mardasirakan Jemaran (Armenian College of Kolkata) and its Bicentenary.”
Satenik Chookaszian (Armenian National Gallery in Yerevan): “Sargis Katchadourian’s reproductions of India’s cultural gems from the collection of National Gallery of Armenia.”
Chair and Discussant: Armen Baibourtian
Saturday, March 18, 2023 (Fowler Museum, UCLA)
Check-in at Lenart Hall (11:30 AM – 12:00 PM)
Welcoming remarks: Amy Landau
Panel 1: Monuments, Patronage, and Indo-Persianate Identities (12:00 PM – 2:00 PM)
Sebouh David Aslanian (Department of History, UCLA): “Cemeteries as Heterotopias: Armenian Sepulchral Culture in Agra and Surat, or what the Dead can tell us About the Living.”
Talinn Grigor (Department of Art History, UC Davis): “‘Transimperial’ Strategies of Artistic Patronage: From New Julfan Merchants to Parsi Industrialists.”
Veronika Zablotsky (Freie Universität, Berlin): “Orientalism and the Making of the Armenian Diasporic Imaginary in Early Colonial India.”
Discussant: Peter Cowe (UCLA)
Panel 2: The Historical Imagination and the Circulation of Revolutionary Ideas in Late 18th Century South India (2:00 PM – 3:30PM)
Michael O’Sullivan (The European University Institute, Florence): “Portfolio Capitalism and History-Writing in Hagop Simonean Ayubeant’s Life of Haydar Ali Khan, c. 1782-1795.”
Ayal Amer (UC Irvine): “Fitna and Patriotism in Late 18th century Madras.”
Satenig Badwagan Toufanian (Inalco, Paris): “The Snare of Glory: A Call for Freedom from Madras.”
Discussant: Sebouh D. Aslanian
Intermission: Lemonade, Cookies, and Open Galleries in Courtyard (3:30 PM – 4:40 PM)
Keynote Address (4:40 PM – 5:40 PM)
Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Distinguished Professor & Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Social Sciences): “Armenians and Others in Mughal Surat: Rethinking Communities, Collaboration and Conflict.”
Reception on the Terrace (6:00m – 7:30 pm)
- UCLA Richard Hovannisian Chair of Modern Armenian History
- Fowler Museum at UCLA
- Armenian Studies Center at the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute
- USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies
- National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)
- UCLA Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies
- UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
Area Studies: India is a platform for a wide range of digitized archival collections.
- Colonial Discourses Series Three – Colonial Fiction, 1712-1933 includes fiction, poetry, drama, and general non-fiction from India, 1712-1933, sourced from the British Library.
- Curzon, India and Empire – The papers of Lord Curzon (1859-1925) from the British Library include correspondence which documents all aspects of his involvement in the Middle East and South Asia.
- The Empire Writes Back: Part One – Indian views on Britain and Empire, 1810-1915, from the British Library is a set of rare volumes, mainly printed in India, describing the experiences of Indians who traveled to Britain, France, and America between 1810 and 1915.
- India During the Raj: Eyewitness Accounts – Diaries and related records describing life in India, 1712-1925.
- India in the Age of Empire – The Journals of Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881) from the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
- Indian Newspaper Reports, c. 1868-1942 – These printed reports consist of precis and extracts of articles from hundreds of Indian-language titles and English titles published by Indians, compiled for and published by the Indian government.
The Library recently acquired the following U.S. State Department online archives:
India-Pakistan Conflict: Records of the US State Department, 1963-1966 (aka Records of the U.S. State Department: India and Pakistan, Political Affairs and Relations, February 1963-1966, Subject-Numeric File POL)
The Library has recently acquired Indian Army and Colonial Warfare on the Frontiers of India, 1914-1920, part of the India Office Records held by the British Library (IOR/L/MIL/17/5/4115).
For generations of British and Indian Officers and men, the North-West Frontier was the scene of repeated skirmishes and major campaigns against the trans-border Pathan tribes who inhabited the mountainous no-man’s land between India and Afghanistan. This collection contains Army Lists; Orders; Instructions; Regulations; Acts; Manuals; Strength Returns; Orders of Battle; Administration Summaries; organization, commissions, committees, reports, maneuvers; departments of the Indian Army; and regimental narratives.
The Library has acquired from Adam Matthew Digital their collection of East India Company records, which will be published in three modules. The module available now, “Trade, Government and Empire, 1600-1947” includes 932 volumes of the British Government’s India Office Records (IOR):
IOR/A: The East India Company’s charters, statutes and treaties
IOR/B: The minutes of the meetings of the Courts of Directors and Proprietors
IOR/C: The minutes and memoranda of the Council of India
IOR/D: The minutes and memoranda of the general committees and offices of the East India Company
IOR/Z: Indexes to selected documents in classes B and D
These records include minutes of council meetings, memoranda and papers laid before the councils, council resolutions, charters, text of legislation, correspondence, personnel lists, and printed monographs. The Nature and Scope section of the resource provides more details.
The recently acquired collection of The Archives of the Church in North India: Archival Collection is described on their website as follows: “A collaboration with Yale University, the online version of The Archives of the Church in North India comprises archival and printed material from the Gujarat Diocese of the Church of North India. The Archival collection includes:
- Minutes of meetings, correspondence and other documents of the Irish Presbyterian Mission Council in Gujarat and relevant local committees.
- Annual reports prepared by the Irish Presbyterian Mission Council that describe the achievements of the past year, including information about the financial situation of the IP Mission from 1851 to 1965.
- Annual reports of the Missions’ Orphanage from 1870 till 1958.”
Adam Matthew has put together a webinar on the East India Company resource.
Guest Speakers include:
The Library has a trial of the Adam Matthew Digital digital archive, East India Company, until February 23rd.
East India Company offers access to a unique collection of India Office Records from the British Library, London. Containing royal charters, correspondence, trading diaries, minutes of council meetings and reports of expeditions, among other document types, this resource charts the history of British trade and rule in the Indian subcontinent and beyond from 1600 to 1947.
*Please note that PDF download options are not available during trials.
Please send any feedback you have about the resource to me at email@example.com.
Adam Matthew Digital is hosting a webinar on the British in India, featuring Dr. Kate Boehme, Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. Dr Boehme holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, for which her thesis analysed the development of Indian business networks in and around Bombay in the mid-nineteenth century. Her article “Smuggling India: Deconstructing Western India’s Illicit Export Trade, 1818-1870” was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in June 2015.
They will be using rare primary sources to revisit Britain’s complex involvement in India, from their earliest presence as traders on the Indian subcontinent in the eighteenth century, through to their military governance in the years that followed.
The webinar will be offered twice on August 31, 2016: at 7 am PST and 12 pm PST.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity won the National Book Award (2012) and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among many others, and has appeared on numerous “best books of the year” lists. It is also the common reading for this year’s On the Same Page program, and the focus of numerous public events and courses on campus this Fall.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers weaves together the stories of a dozen or more residents of a vast slum near the Mumbai airport, many of whom subsist by recycling garbage thrown away by others.
A new exhibit in Moffitt Library showcases the variety of library collections pertaining to the On the Same Page theme. There are the usual suspects: books, dissertations, scholarly journal articles, and government documents about slum dwellers and waste recyclers in India. Also included are a personal narrative in Marathi, maps (historical and contemporary), pictorial works, statistics, magazine articles, and articles about poverty in Mumbai published in The Times of India of 1876 and from the same publication in 2005. The exhibit also includes video clips from the Media Resources Center collection.
The exhibit will be up until mid-October.
In Spring 1929 a group of labor leaders and trade unionists were arrested and charged under section 121-A of the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860) for “conspiring to deprive the King of His Sovereignty of British India.” Labeled by the British government as Bolsheviks, only a few of the men were members of the Communist Party, which at the time did not have a strong presence in India. The preliminary proceedings, subsequent trial, and appeals together lasted four years, during which the accused garnered much public sympathy and the Communist movement in India gained more support.
The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933, a collection contained in British Online Archives, includes documents drawn from the British Library, Labour History Archive & Study Centre and Working Class Movement Library. They include India Office records, personal papers of one of the accused, papers of a Secretary of the Labour party that show widespread support of the accused, and a collection of books and pamphlets related to the trial.