MISSION HILLS, Calif.—Dr. Sebouh Aslanian, the Richard Hovannisian Professor of Modern Armenian History at UCLA, will give a lecture entitled “From Nakhijevan to the Netherlands: Thomas Vardapet of Vanand and Armenian Printing in Amsterdam, 1677-1708,” on June 4 at 4 p.m., at the Ararat-Eskijian Museum—Sheen Chapel, 15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills, California. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Ararat-Eskijian Museum and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).
In 1677, an Armenian archbishop named Thomas Vanandets‘i left his small hamlet of Vanand in Nakhijevan with his two nephews and traveled across Asia Minor and all the major courtly centers of Europe in quest of support and patronage for establishing Amsterdam’s fourth Armenian printing press in 1695. Relying on a Latin-language memoir Thomas published in London in 1707, an earlier and heretofore-unknown account of his travels published in Spanish in Madrid in 1691, as well as archival documents from a dozen collections in Europe, Professor Aslanian’s presentation will examine Thomas’s role in the history of Armenian print culture in Amsterdam and explore his forty-year peregrinations, focusing on the ignored but ubiquitous genre of the letter recommendation (յանձնարարական նամակ) that allowed him to traverse different networks spanning the world of early modern Eurasia.
Aslanian has held the Richard Hovannisian Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA since 2012. He is the author of From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (2011) and The Polycentric Nation: Dispersion History and the role of Simeon Yerevantsi’s Girk vor Kochi Partavchar in the Eighteenth Century Armenian National Revival (2004), as well as articles appearing in Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, American Historical Review, Book History, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, Études Arméniennes Contemporaines, Handes Amsorya, Journal of World History, Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, and Journal of the Social and Economic History of the Orient.