A conference about new directions in the study of Armenian memory, culture, and displacement


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Memory
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

University of Pennsylvania, Slought

Contributing Institutions

LGBT Center


Deanna Cachoian-Schanz, David Kazanjian, Veronika Zablotsky

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

LGBT Center
3907 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce the revival of Infidelities, a conference about new directions in the study of Armenian history, memory, culture and displacement across West Asia and the Middle East to the Americas and back, from March 24 through March 26, 2023. The program is presented in partnership with scholars and programs at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Freie Universität Berlin. Registration is kindly requested through Eventbrite.

The field of Armenian Studies is in the midst of a sea change. Over the last decade, scholars, and artists have made a bid to shift the field's focus to a broader range of new, interdisciplinary, and transnational topics through the lenses of critical theory, feminist theory, queer studies, and postcolonial studies. In collaboration with scholars and programs at the University of Pennsylvania, the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Freie Universität Berlin, we are convening an international three-day conference to both mark and shape this auspicious moment.

"Infidelities: Armenian Studies Otherwise" will feature international scholars, writers, curators, filmmakers, visual artists, physical theatre performers, and a sound performer, all of whom work either directly in, or tangentially to, Armenian Studies, to flesh out new visions for the field and for the understanding of Armenianness. Over three days, our aim is to center critical, queer-feminist, postcolonial, and performative approaches to the study of Armenian history, diaspora, memory, language, culture, and displacement within and beyond the Middle East, wider West Asia, and the Americas.

Through a series of panels, performances, and working groups focused around the polyvalent provocation of "infidelity," we will focus on a spectrum of lively new directions toward which Armenian Studies is currently moving: feminist and queer interventions; cultural studies of hybrid and syncretic identities; aesthetic imaginings of Armenité beyond text and language; new materialisms and revolutionary change in a postsocialist setting; utopian futures beyond the nation-state; necropolitics, post-memory, and alternative imaginaries of the archive in light of the most recent war; as well as postcolonial critiques and visions of "reconciliation."

At the intersection of the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts, "Infidelities" seeks to open the putative identity "Armenian" to a wide and open-ended field of critical, reflective study and learning. It will augment new avenues for thinking within Armenian Studies through dialogue with scholars positioned outside of the field through interdisciplinary panels that will address an array of topics, including: legacies of land, memory, and trauma; urban place-making in displacement; gendered and racialized embodiment and its discontents across various and hybrid geographies; re-imagining of archives; and queering approaches to culture through experimental film, performance, and sound that decenter nationalism, heteropatriarchy, and the re/production of prescribed identities both in the diaspora and in Armenia itself.

read more


Friday and Saturday open to the public


Friday, March 24, 2023

Welcome Remarks, "Infidelities"
9:00 – 9:20

Panel 1: Postcolonial Feminist Contestations
9:30 – 11:00

Panel 2: Re-Imagining Land, Memory, and Trauma
11:15 – 12:45

Panel 3: Diasporic Locations in Question (LGBT Center)
2:30 – 4:00

Film Screening 1: Communities in Displacement (LGBT Center)
4:15 – 5:45

Performance: arMENia (LGBT Center)
6:00 – 6:45

PENN Armenian Students' Association
7:00 – 7:45


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Panel 4: Historical Aesthetics, Aesthetic Histories
9:30 – 11:00

Performative Interventions
11:15 – 12:15

Panel 5: Re-Imagining Archives (LGBT Center)
1:30 – 3:00

Film Screening 2: Queering Culture: Shorts (LGBT Center)
3:15 – 4:45

Literary Launches: Readings and Book Launch (LGBT Center)
5:00 – 6:15

Reception (LGBT Center)
8:30 – 11:00


Sunday, March 26, 2023
(Slought—Conference Participants Only) 10:30am-3pm

Roundtable: Armenians Otherwise
10:30 – 12:00

Breakout Groups 1:30 – 2:30

What's Next? 2:30 – 3:00

# Participants

– Milena Abrahamian (Feminist, Armenia)
– Arpi Adamyan (Artist, Armenia)
– Nancy Agabian (Writer, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU, USA)
– Micheline Aharonian Marcom (Writer, University of Virginia, USA)
– Sylvia Alajaji (Franklin & Marshall College, USA)
– Özcan Alper (Filmmaker, Turkey)
– Hakem al-Rustom (University of Michigan, USA)
– Sophia Armen (University of California, San Diego, USA)
– Shushan Avagyan (American University of Armenia (AUA), Armenia)
– Arlene Avakian (Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA)
– Kohar Avakian (Yale University, USA)
– Kathryn Babayan (University of Michigan, USA)
– Mischa Badasyan (Life Artist, Russia/Germany)
– Varduhi Balyan (Writer & Filmmaker, Armenia/Turkey)
– Houri Berberian (University of California, Irvine, USA)
– Tamar Boyadjian (Michigan State University, USA)
– Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine, USA)
– Mashinka Firunts Hakopian (Berggruen Institute, CA, USA)
– Aikaterini Gegisian (Visual Artist, London Metropolitan University)
– Anahit Ghazaryan (Filmmaker, Armenia)
– Rachel Goshgarian (Lafayette College, USA)
– Armine Hovhannisyan (Artist and Archivist, Armenia)
– Marianna Hovhannisyan (Brown University, USA)
– Káren Jallatyan (Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary)
– Suvir Kaul (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
– Ania Loomba (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
– Joanne Nucho (Pomona College, USA)
– Tsomak Oga (Artist and Musician, Armenia)
– Ayşe Parla (Boston University, USA)
– Lusine Sargsyan (Psychologist, Armenia)
– Nelli Sargsyan (Emerson College, USA)
– Lara Sarkissian (Musical Artist, Iran/USA)
– Elyse Semerdjian (Whitman College, USA)
– Gayane Shagoyan (National Academy of Sciences, Armenia)
– Eric Shahinian (Writer and Filmmaker, USA)
– Anna Shahnazaryan (Civil Activist, Armenian Environmental Front, Armenia)
– Lousine Shamamian (Filmmaker and Comedian, USA)
– Tamar Shirinian (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA)
– Anoush Suni (Northwestern University, USA)
– lucine talalyan (Artist and Filmmaker, Armenia)
– Melanie Tanielian (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA)
– Méliné Ter Minassian (Theatre Actor and Director, Rouge Delta / Kraken (Artistic Development Platform, France)
– Hrag Vartanian (Founder and Curator, Hyperallergic, USA)



This program is made possible through generous support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation—Armenian Communities Department, the Society for Armenian Studies, the Middle East Center (MEC) at Penn, and also at the University of Pennsylvania, the following sponsors:

Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory; Department of English; LGBT Center; Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Cinema Studies; Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES); Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS); The Kutchin Seminar Series in the Jewish Studies Program; Department of the History of Art; Annenberg Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC); Theorizing; Lauder Institute; Wolf Humanities Center; SASgov; Gen/Sex; Penn Women's Center; Annenberg School of Communication; Department of Linguistics; the SAS Conference Support Grant; and the University Research Foundation Award

Download Program

Join Livestream

"'Armenia' cannot lean toward existing theories. It cannot be comfortably located in the generally recognized lineaments of contemporary imperialism and received postcolonialism. It has been too much in the interstices to fit such a location. Its history is diversified, with many loyalties cross-hatching so small a place, if indeed it is more a place than a state of mind over the centuries."

— Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Other Asias