Faith in History
Armenians Rebuilding Community

(ISBN: 1-56098-629-8)
1997 Washington
282 pages
Size: 6 1/4" x 9 1/4"
Language(s): English

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Armenians are an ancient people with roots in eastern Anatolia going back 2,500 years. Yet almost half of them today live in diaspora. Slaughtered and deported from their homeland by the Ottomans during World War I, surviving Armenians scattered to different corners of the globe. Focusing on Armenians who settled in Cyprus and London during the course of this century, Susan Paul Pattie reveals how the mechanisms for creating and maintaining a sense of community and national identity have evolved, as early survivors have given way to second- and third-generation Armenians who are increasingly at home in their host societies. Drawing on five years of fieldwork, Pattie shows how the Armenian language and such institutions as the Apostolic Church, with its elaborate ceremonies, once acted as key repositories of identity but now function more as symbols within a larger faith—a faith in Armenian history as a transcendent, unifying force for Armenians worldwide. For some contemporary Armenians in diaspora, this faith in history is energized by political organizations fighting for Turkish acknowledgment of responsibility for the Ottoman massacres. But for most, belief in the past serves as an underpinning for the mechanisms of family and community. Portraying the relation between religion and nationalism in concrete terms, Faith in History also investigates the increasingly common experience of diaspora. In wonderful vignettes of Armenian daily life, this book evokes the ways in which perceptions of nation and homeland shift and evolve.

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