Reflections In the Middle of the Journey: The Global Philosophical Thought in the Armenian language

On July 8,  a discussion entitled Reflections In the Middle of the Journey: The Global Philosophical Thought in the Armenian language was held at the Keerk & Co café with the participation of a special guest – Ara Sanjian, a member of the advisory committee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Translation Series project. Mr. Sanjian spoke about the main goals of establishing the series and the impact of the project on the educational and academic communities of Armenia, as well as about the opportunities for language development due to translation activities and the importance of the wide distribution of these translations.

Ara Sanjian gave details about the selection of books, explaining that the books being translated at this stage were chosen back in 2016 considering the lack of translated literature in Armenian in the field of humanities and social sciences. Nevertheless, he mentioned that it is not possible to fill this gap completely, especially within the framework of one project. Therefore, the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation decided to translate some of the most important authors of the last decades, whose works were not translated into Armenian. Mr. Sanjian mentioned that various Armenian publishing houses are now working on the translation of academic works of global fame with financial assistance from various organizations. Therefore, during the last few years more books from this category have appeared on the book market, and it is expected that the number of such books will increase further in the near future.

Issues related to the translation process and the importance of creating a new vocabulary were discussed during the gathering. It is still too early to talk about the spread of the newly coined Armenian terms, since this usually takes a considerable time and is a complicated process. According to Mr. Sanjian, the readers themselves will either accept and use the new words, or those words will be forgotten over time and new ones will appear. This process is endless and it is important to ensure the continuity of the translation work.

The translators, editors of the books in the CGF series, as well as students and readers participated in the meeting. Numerous questions were raised, followed by responses and discussions.

Many opinions were voiced about the need for the continuation of the series. There were words of gratitude from the readers for the important work done, as well as suggestions to cooperate more closely with Armenian universities in order to include the books in the curricula, as well as an invitation to cooperate with the academic circles in order to involve the latter in scholarly dialogues.

Up till now, four books have been released within the framework of the project: Giorgio Agamben, Quel che resta di Auschwitz. L’archivio e il testimone (Homo sacer III), Jürgen Habermas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit), Alain Badiou, Le Siècle), Michel Foucault, L’archéologie du savoir).

Ara Sanjian is a historian. In 1991, he graduated from the Faculty of History at YSU. Specialization: Armenian history. Then, in 1996, he graduated from the doctoral program of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Specialization: modern history of the Middle East.

From 1996 to 2005 Sanjian was the Chairman of the Department of Armenian Studies, History and Political Science at Haigazian University in Beirut.  From 2006 Ara Sanjian is the Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Sanjian’s research interests focus on the post-World War I history of Armenia, Turkey and the Arab states of Western Asia.

To watch the full recording of the meeting please follow the link.