Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh and the Palimpsests of Conflict, Violence, and Memory

The recent premeditated initiation of war by Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh has led to hundreds of deaths to date, including many civilians, as well as the destruction of homes and cultural monuments. The war has also triggered the fabrication of false and misleading narratives on social media and by media outlets themselves regarding the conflict’s origins, causes, and possible future directions. Organized by the Armenian Studies Center at UCLA’s Promise Armenian Institute, this zoom-held international conference on the region’s troubled history sought to raise critical awareness of the complex and variegated history behind the current violence. The gathering was the first of its kind to frame the conflict around its “deep” history, revealing its Soviet, Ottoman, and more recent geopolitical layers. It brought together scholars and seasoned experts to explore different dimensions of the conflict from Soviet nationality policy to the place of the late Ottoman Empire in the region’s history and its lingering contribution to the recent violence. The renowned American philosopher Dr. Cornel West delivered a special address titled “Words in Solidarity” at the beginning of the conference.