There Was and There Was Not. Book Presentation Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015-03 ThereWasMeline Toumani will read from her new book, There Was and There Was Not: A Journey Through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia and Beyond at the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York on Thursday, March 26 at 7PM.

The event is being co-sponsored by the Zohrab Information Center, the Armenian Students’ Association, and the Armenian Network of America.

Dr. Margarit Ordukhanyan, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Classical and Oriental Studies at Hunter College, will moderate the evening’s discussion and presentation.

In her new memoir, a finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography, Ms. Toumani examines the complex role that inherited ideas about “the Turk” have played in her own identity as an Armenian-American and as a writer.

“I read Meline Toumani’s original and audacious book with admiration, first for the grainy pleasures of her narrative—the raw energy of true encounters,” writes Michael J. Arlen, author of the classic Passage to Ararat, adding, “And perhaps even more for her nerve and seriousness in trying, as an Armenian-American woman, to find a path between the often self-defeating absolutism of her own Armenian community and the Orwellian evasions of most contemporary Turks when asked to acknowledge the plain act of long-ago genocide in plain language.”

The public is invited to the presentation, which will take place in the Guild Hall of the Diocese, and is free of charge. A reception will follow, with copies of the book available for purchase.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to

Ottoman Era Photographs. A Fine Exhibit at the CUNY Graduate Center

2012-12 OttomanPhotoA small but fine exhibit of vintage photographs from Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon from the late 19th and early 20th centuries is currently on display at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The Center is located at 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street.

Many of the images come from the renowned studios of Armenian photographers working in Constantinople such as Pascal Sebah, J.P. Sebah, Abdullah Freres, Lekegian and Bonfils. Other photographers represented include Zangaki, Arnoux, Beator, Dumas and Lehnert and Landrock.

The exhibit comprises nearly 70 high-quality reproductions of original photographs in the private collection of Dr. Joseph E. Malikian, Ph.D., author of the recent album, The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire: An Anthology and a Photo History (Antelias, Lebanon, 2011).

Many of the photographs are exquisitely crisp and dramatic portrayals of peasants in their daily life against the backdrop of village scenes, mosques and churches in Egypt and Palestine.

The exhibit is been sponsored by, and is located in CUNY’s Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (Room 6304.24), and will be in place through May 2013.