Survivor Object: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice

By Professor Heghnar Watenpaugh of the University of California, Davis

Presented by the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA and the Political Violence in the Modern World cluster course

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies and the UCLA Working Group in Memory Studies

Date: February 16, 2022, 10 pm UTC+04

Registration for this webinar is required and free at

The intentional destruction of art, especially religious art, is a central element in mass violence and genocide. Claims for the restitution of surviving religious and artistic objects often feature in post-conflict processes of survival or reconciliation. The widespread destruction of cultural heritage is a well-known dimension of the Armenian Genocide, yet it has rarely attracted critical attention. This paper examines the fate of Armenian cultural heritage during and after the Genocide through the Zeytun Gospels, a medieval manuscript that was looted and sundered during the Armenian Genocide.

Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Davis and an ARISC member. She researches the visual cultures of the Middle East. Her first book on the architecture of Aleppo received a book award for urban history from the Society of Architectural Historians. Her second book, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice (Stanford University Press, 2019), is the only book to win awards from both the Society for Armenian Studies and the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association. It also won the Gold Medal in World History from the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and it was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (non-fiction). Her research has been supported by fellowships from the J. Paul Getty Trust, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hays, Social Science Research Council, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and the President of the University of California. Professor Watenpaugh is a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation as well as a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar.

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