Language and alphabet in the Armenian diaspora of Plovdiv, Bulgaria: symbolic cultivation and identitary memoryGiustina Selvelli
, invited lecture at foreign university
Abstract: In this presentation I will focus on the case of the Armenian diaspora of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, describing specific mechanisms of maintenance and reproduction of identitary memory connected to the symbolic use of the community’s language and alphabet made by both cultural elites and individuals. Armenian language and alphabet are functional to the promotion of a particular type of memory, which makes the experience of the diaspora 'transnational' and 'transtemporal' at one time, challenging conventional concepts of belonging based on territoriality. In particular, by virtue of its emotional content linked to a history of distinctiveness, the alphabet becomes part of a process of collective representation, as a key symbol nourishing the links with the spiritual and cultural heritage of the historical Armenian Motherland. The latter can be considered an 'Imaginary Homeland': not corresponding to the restricted borders of contemporary Republic of Armenia, it has acquired a 'mythical value' which constitutes integral part of an emotional geography of the diaspora. Although most members of the community do not have a command of the Armenian language, its alphabet appears to be an essential tool in a process of symbolic cultivation of collective imaginary by virtue of the specific “ethno-history” it contains, and expands its role beyond the technical one becoming an object, a decoration and a distinctive sign displaying identitary memory.
Found in: ključnih besedah
Keywords: Armenian Alphabet, Armenian Diaspora, Bulgarian Armenians, Imaginary Homeland, Symbolic Cultivation
Published: 04.01.2021; Views: 627; Downloads: 0
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