Dimensions of Cultural Identity and Post-Soviet Ways of Modernization in Armenia

  • A series of seminars led by cultural critic Hrach Bayadyan (Armenia)

    Coordination and Moderation: Susanna Gyulamiryan

    1. Russian-Soviet Hegemony and Soviet Armenian Nationalism
    2. 2000s: Certain (Re)Modernization Tendencies in Armenia
    3. Conclusions: How to Become Post-Soviet

    ‘Galentz’ Muzeum, Yerevan
    June 1-3, 2012

In these three seminars Hrach Bayadyan gave an overall summary of his recent articles that concern the issues of Eastern Armenian Cultural Identity. The main stimulus behind this work had been the desire to understand the complex post-Soviet situation with its cultural, social, and political aspects. This desire has led to an interest in the central themes and some decisive developments of the past two centuries that have been, although fragmentarily, reflected in his work. Here the core theoretical-interpretational framework is the modernization, to the extent to which the Eastern Armenian history of that period can be viewed from the perspective of its relation, at least as a certain elitist project, to the Western processes of modernization. This framework is used taking into account the vast number of critical revisions done, particularly, from the viewpoint of Postcolonial studies. However, for the Eastern Armenians the era of modernization was inseparably linked to the Russian orientation, as it was also the era of Russian-Soviet domination. Moreover, the Russian orientation goes beyond being just an orientation and gradually conquers the whole historical-cultural horizon of the Eastern Armenians (Russian Armenians). This circumstance becomes highly urgent in the post-Soviet Armenia and can be viewed as, for instance, a problem of overcoming the Russian-Soviet cultural dominance or a problem of cultural decolonization. If the extended viewpoint on modernity (‘alternative modernities’, for instance) allows to consider the experience of Soviet Socialism and, thus, the history of post-Soviet societies in the context of global transformations of the time, then, at the same time, it implies adoption of new theoretical-methodological approaches. In this regard, the seminars presented those sectors of the research that seem to be most relevant for this purpose: Postcolonial studies and Cultural studies. Moreover, the seminars discussed a number of key concepts: postcolonialism, Orientalism, hegemony, nationalism, and so on.

Download the booklet:

  1. English
  2. Armenian


The series of seminars was organized in the frame of the International networking project HEICO (Heritage, Identity and Communication in European Contemporary Art Practice). Building on the already existed Atlantis Network of European art institutions, the project ‘Heritage, Identity and Communication in European Contemporary Art Practices’ fosters cross-border cultural exchange as well as the examination of the own identity in relation to the identity of partner countries and their political and cultural heritage. The partners implement five cross-linked exhibitions in Potsdam, Plovdiv, Tbilisi, Chisinau, Bratislava, Venice, the symposia on a cargo ship through the Black See (Varna-Tbilisi) and the series of seminars in Armenia. The project also promotes exchange between artists and curators through residential programs in Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Yerevan (Armenia), Tbilisi (Georgia) and Bratislava (Slovak Republic). The results of the residency programs was also presented in the countries’ exhibitions (www.atlantisprojects.eu).

The series of seminars was funded with support from the European Commission and partially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia and ‘Galentz’ Museum, Yerevan.