Dr. Helen C. Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been appointed the Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University for the Fall of 2014. She will be teaching a seminar style course entitled Origins of Armenian Art: Creating An Identity beginning September 5, according to the Armenian Reporter.
The course, which will be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fridays from 11:00 am to 12:50 pm, will use the objects in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum’s Medieval Department to explore how the Armenian people, at the levels of elite and popular culture, used architecture, manuscript illumination, coins, stone carvings, ceramics, textiles and other media to identify and position themselves in relation to neighboring or dominating cultures. Focusing on how to arrive at a definition of Armenian art and how to relate Armenia to the larger cultural context of early and medieval periods and later revivals, the course will also examine the reasons for scholarly interest in a definition of Armenian art over the last century.
The Visiting Professorship program, part of the Armenian Studies Program in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia, is made possible by an endowment established by the late Dr. Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian in 1998. Previous Ordjanian Visiting Professors have included Levon Abrahamian, Vardan Azatyan, Peter Balakian, Melissa Bilal, George Bournoutian, Seta Dadoyan, Roberta Ervine, Helen Evans, Rachel Goshgarian, Arman Grigoryan, Robert Hewsen, Armen Marsoobian, Ara Sarafian and Khachig Tololyan.
The Ordjanian Visiting Professorship is one of several programs of the Armenian Center at Columbia, the organization that raised the initial funds to establish a Chair of Armenian Studies at Columbia in 1979 and which continues to provide funds for scholarships, library acquisitions, academic publications, lectures, conferences and symposia.