“Everything is Connected to the Genocide.” Intergenerational Memory, Diaspora Mobilization, and Armenian Youth Identities in Jerusalem



intergenerational memory, Armenian Genocide, diaspora mobilization, youth identity, ethnography


Considering commemorative practices of postmemory, past presencing, and transnational memory, this study considers how Genocide memories and the conflict in Artsakh intersect to shape the performance of diasporic Armenian youth identities in Jerusalem as members of a disempowered minority community. Drawing on ethnographic research in Jerusalem’s Armenian School, participant-observation in community events, and interviews with youth and community leaders, this article documents processes of intergenerational memory transmission within educational and community settings and suggests ways in which inherited narratives of victimization find new expressions via transnational acts of citizenship. As Jerusalem’s multilingual Armenian youth engage in commemorative ceremonies and take protests to the streets in acts of diaspora mobilization, memories are (re) interpreted to construct novel identity narratives tied to an imagined Armenian transnation.

Author Biography

Lance Levenson, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Doctoral student in the Seymour Fox School of Education at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,


Benedict Anderson, Long-Distance Nationalism: World Capitalism and the Rise of Identity Politics (Amsterdam: Centre for Asian Studies, 1992).

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 2006).

Pnina Werbner, “The Place Which is Diaspora: Citizenship, Religion and Gender in the Making of Chaordic Transnationalism,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 28, no. 1 (2002):121, https://doi.org/10.1080/13691830120103967.

Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2008), 6-8.

Steven Vertovec, “Three Meanings of ‘Diaspora,’ Exemplified among South Asian Religions,” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 6, no. 3 (1997): 277-299, https://doi.org/10.3138/diaspora.6.3.277.

Victoria Redclift, “The Demobilization of Diaspora: History, Memory and ‘Latent Identity,’” Global Networks 17, no. 4 (2017): 500-517, https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12150.

Khachig Tölölyan, “Elites and Institutions in the Armenian Transnation,” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 9, no. 1 (2000): 107-136, https://doi.org/10.1353/dsp.2000.0004.

Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994); Avtar Brah, Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities (London: Routledge, 1996).

Rogers Brubaker, “The ‘Diaspora’ Diaspora,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 28, no. 1(2006):1-19, https://doi.org/10.1080/0141987042000289997.

Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff, Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 31.

Anthony Elliott, Concepts of the Self (Oxford: Polity Press, 2014).

Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984).

Stuart Hall, “Introduction: ‘Who Needs ‘Identity?’” in Questions of Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (London: Sage, 1996), 1-17.

Pierre Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital,” in Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. John G. Richardson (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1986), 241-258.

Janroj Yilmaz Keles, “Digital Diaspora and Social Capital,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 9 (2016): 315-333, https://doi.org/10.1163/18739865-00903004.

Robert D. Putnam, “The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life,” American Prospect 13 (1993): 35-42.

Yossi Shain, “The Role of Diasporas in Conflict Perpetuation or Resolution,” SAIS Review 22, no. 2 (2002): 138.

Yossi Shain and Aharon Barth, “Diaspora and International Relations Theory,” International Organization 57 (2003): 449-479, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818303573015.

Razmik Panossian, “Between Ambivalence and Intrusion: Politics and Identity in Armenia-Diaspora Relations,” Diaspora 7, no. 2 (1998): 149-196, https://doi.org/10.3138/diaspora.7.2.149.

Sossie Kasbarian, “The Politics of Memory and Commemoration: Armenian Diasporic Reflections on 2015,” Nationalities Papers 46, no. 1 (2018): 123-143, https://doi.org/doi:10.1080/00905992.2017.1347917

Razmik Panossian, “The Past as Nation: Three Dimensions of Armenian Identity,” Geopolitics 7, no. 2 (2002): 121-146, https://doi.org/10.1080/714000931l.

Susan Pattie, “New Homeland for an Old Diaspora,” in Homelands and Diasporas: Holy Lands and Other Places, ed. André Levy and Alex Weingrod (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 49-67.

Danielle Drozdzewski and Carolyn Birdsall, “Advancing Memory Methods,” in Doing Memory Research, ed. Danielle Drozdzewski and Carolyn Birdsall (Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 1-20.

Gabrielle Rosenthal, “The Social Construction of Individual and Collective Memory,” in Theorizing Social Memories: Concepts and Contexts, ed. Gerd Sebald and Jatin Wagle (London: Routledge, 2016), 32-55.

Dmitry Chernobrov and Leila Wilmers, “Diaspora Identity and a New Generation: Armenian Diaspora Youth on the Genocide and the Karabakh War,” Nationalities Papers 48, no. 5 (2020): 915-930. https://doi.org/10.1017/nps.2019.74.

Duygu Gül Kaya, “Memory and Citizenship in Diaspora: Remembering the Armenian Genocide in Canada,” Citizenship Studies 22, no. 4 (2018): 401-418, https://doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2018.1462503

Duygu Gül Kaya, “100 Voices After 100 Years: Remembering the Armenian Genocide in Diaspora,” Popular Communication 16, no. 2 (2018): 128-140, https://doi.org/10.1080/15405702.2017.1378889.

Marianne Hirsch, “The Generation of Postmemory,” Poetics Today 29, no. 1 (2008): 103-128, https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2007-019.

Natasha Azarian-Ceccato, “Reverberations of the Armenian Genocide: Narrative’s Intergenerational Transmission and the Task of Not Forgetting,” Narrative Inquiry 20 no. 1 (2010): 106-123. https://doi.org/10.1075/ni.20.1.06aza.

Brian Schiff, Chaim Noy, and Bertram J. Cohler, “Collected Stories in the Life Narratives of Holocaust Survivors,” Narrative Inquiry 11, no. 1 (2001): 159-194.

Ulrike Ziemer, “Belonging and Longing: Armenian Youth and Diasporic Long-Distance Nationalism in Contemporary Russia,” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 10, no. 2 (2010): 294. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-9469.2010.01079.x.

Sharon Macdonald, “Presencing Europe’s Pasts,” in A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe, ed. Ullrich Kockel, Máiréad Nic Craith, and Jonas Frykman (West Susex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 234.

Pedro Bogossian-Porto, “Accounts of a Genocide: Collective Memory among Armenians in Brazil,” Haigazian Armenological Review 38 (2018): 449-466.

James Barry, Armenian Christians in Iran: Ethnicity, Religion, and Identity in the Islamic Republic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018): 206-244.

Camilla Orjuela, “Mobilising Diasporas for Justice: Opportunity Structures and the Presencing of a Violent Past,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44, no. 8 (2018): 1366, https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1354163.

Sabrina Papazian, “The Cost of Memorializing: Analyzing Armenian Genocide Memorials and Commemorations in the Republic of Armenia and in the Diaspora,” International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity 7 (2019): 55-86, https://doi.org/10.18352/hcm.534.

Michael Rothberg, “Locating Transnational Memory,” European Review 22, no. 4 (2014): 652, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1062798714000441.

Chiara De Cesari and Ann Rigney, “Introduction,” in Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, Scales, ed. Chiara De Cesari and Ann Rigney (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014), 12.

Engin F. Isin, “Theorizing Acts of Citizenship,” in Acts of Citizenship, ed. Engin F. Isin and Greg M. Nielsen (London: Zed Books, 2008), 17.

Michael Rothberg and Yasemin Yildiz, “Memory Citizenship: Migrant Archives of Holocaust Remembrance in Contemporary Germany,” Parallax 17 no. 4 (2011): 32-48, https://doi.org/1 0.1080/13534645.2011.605576.

Lea Müller-Funk, “Diaspora Mobilizations in the Egyptian (Post)Revolutionary Process: Comparing Transnational Political Participation in Paris and Vienna,” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 14, no. 3 (2016): 353-370, https://doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2016.1180471.

Elizabeth Mavroudi, “Deconstructing Diasporic Mobilisation at a Time of Crisis: Perspectives from the Palestinian and Greek Diasporas,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44, no. 8 (2018): 1309-1324, https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1354159.

Maria Koinova, “Diaspora Mobilisation for Conflict and Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Contextual and Comparative Dimensions,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44, no. 8 (2018): 1251-1269, https://doi.org/10.108010.1080/1369183X.2017.1354152.

Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff, “Diasporas and Conflict Societies: Conflict Entrepreneurs, Competing Interests or Contributors to Stability and Development?” Conflict, Security & Development 11, no. 2 (2011): 115-143, https://doi.org/10.1080/14678802.2011.572453.

Armine Ishkanian, “Diaspora and Global Civil Society: The Impact of Transnational Diaspora Activism on Armenia’s Post-Soviet Transition” in Central Asia and the Caucasus: Transnationalism and Diaspora, ed. Touraj Atabaki and Sanjyot Mehendale (London: Routledge, 2004), 113-139.

Maria Koinova, “Diasporas and Secessionist Conflicts: The Mobilization of the Armenian, Albanian and Chechen Diasporas,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 34, no. 2 (2011): 333-356, https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2010.489646.

Maria Koinova and Dzeneta Karabegovic, “Diasporas and Transitional Justice: Transnational Activism from Local to Global Levels of Engagement,” Global Networks 17, no. 2 (2017): 212-233.

Sossie Kasbarian, “The ‘Others’ Within: The Armenian Community in Cyprus,” in Diasporas of the Modern Middle East: Contextualizing Community, ed. Anthony Gorman and Sossie Kasbarian (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), 241-273.

Maria Koinova, “Conflict and Cooperation in Armenian Diaspora Mobilisation for Genocide Recognition,” in Diaspora as Cultures of Cooperation, ed. David Carment and Ariane Sadjed (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 111-129.

Khachig Tölölyan, “The Armenian Diaspora and the Karabagh Conflict Since 1988,” in Diasporas in Conflict: Peace Makers or Peace Wreckers, ed. Hazel Smith and Paul Stares (New York: United Nations University Press, 2007), 106-28.

Victor Azarya, The Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem: Urban Life behind Monastery Walls (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).

Bedross Der Matossian, “The Armenians of Jerusalem in the Modern Period: The Rise and Decline of a Community,” in Routledge Handbook on Jerusalem, ed. Sulaiman Mourad, Bedross Der Matossian, and Naomi Koltun-Fromm (London: Routledge, 2018), 396-407.

George Hintlian, History of the Armenians in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: St. James Press, 1976).

Raymond Kevorkian, “From a Monastery to a Neighbourhood: Orphans and Armenian Refugees in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem (1916-1926). Reflexions Towards an Armenian Museum in Jerusalem, Contemporary Levant 6, no. 2 (2021): 141-157, https://doi.org/10.1080/20581831.2021.1898124.

Daphne Tsimhoni, “The Armenians and the Syrians: Ethno-religious Communities in Jerusalem,” Middle Eastern Studies 20, no. 3 (1984): 352-369.

Joshua A. Fishman, “Ethnic Community Mother Tongue Schools in the U.S.A.: Dynamics and Distributions,” International Migration Review 14, no. 2 (1980): 235-247, https://doi.org/10.2307/2545475.

On the multiple discourses present in the Armenian School’s curriculum see Lance Levenson and Julia Resnik, “Between Ethnonational and International Curricula: Competing Identity Discourses in the Armenian School in Jerusalem,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 42, no. 2 (2021): 213-228, https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2021.1877528.

Pedro Bogossian-Porto and Thiago Bogossian, “The School is Not Enough: The Role of Non-Formal Educational Spaces in Preserving Armenian Identity in the Diasporic Community,” International Studies in Sociology of Education (2021), https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2021.1912632.

Nicola Migliorino, (Re)constructing Armenia in Lebanon and Syria: Ethno-Cultural Diversity and the State in the Aftermath of a Refugee Crisis (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2008), 200.

Daphne Tsimhoni, “Christians in Jerusalem: A Minority at Risk,” Journal of Human Rights 4, no. 3 (2005): 391-417, https://doi.org/10.1080/14754830500257695.

Harry Hagopian, The Armenian Church in the Holy Land (Nottingham: Russell Press, 2016), 30.

Yair Auron, The Banality of Denial (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003).

Israel W. Charny, Israel’s Failed Response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial, State Deception, Truth Versus Politicization of History (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2021).

Seth J. Frantzman, “Israeli Drones in Azerbaijan Raise Questions on Use in the Battlefield,” The Jerusalem Post, 1 October 2020, at https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/israeli-drones-in-azerbaijan-raise-questions-onuse-in-the-battlefied-644161.

Yossi Melman, “As Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Expands, Israel-Azerbaijan Arms Trade Thrives,” Haaretz, 7 October 2020, at https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/nagorno-karabakh-conflict-israel-azerbaijan-arms-trade-armenia-iran-1.9212986, accessed 07.08.2021.

Tobias Siegal, “Erdogan: Jerusalem is Our City, a City from Us” The Jerusalem Post, 3 October 2020, at https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/erdoan-jerusalem-is-our-city-a-city-from-us-644306.

Baruch Yedid, “Turkey Working to Take Over Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City,” The Jewish Press, 13 February 2020, https://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east/turkey/exclusive-turkey-working-to-take-over-armenian-quarter-in-jerusalems-old-city/2020/02/13/, accessed 08.08.2021.

Don Handelman, Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events (New York: Berghahn Books, 1998), 1-20.

Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 41-71.

Raymond L. Gold, “Roles in Sociological Field Observations,” Social Forces 36, no. 3 (1958): 217-223, https://doi.org/10.2307/2573808.

Sony Corbin Dwyer and Jennifer L. Buckle, “The Space between: On Being an Insider-Outsider in Qualitative Research,” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8, no. 1 (2009): 54-63, https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406918788176.

Anny Bakalian, Armenian-Americans: From Being to Feeling Armenian (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1993).

Vered Amit Talai, Armenians in London: Management of Social Boundaries (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989).

Andy Nercessian, The Duduk and National Identity in Armenia (Laham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2001).




How to Cite

Levenson, L. (2022). “Everything is Connected to the Genocide.” Intergenerational Memory, Diaspora Mobilization, and Armenian Youth Identities in Jerusalem. International Journal of Armenian Genocide Studies, 6(2), 54–73. Retrieved from http://agmipublications.am/index.php/ijags/article/view/51