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PSIA Chair Vahram Ter-Matevosyan Publishes a Book on Turkey, Kemalism and the Soviet Union

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The American University of Armenia (AUA) is proud to share the recent release by Palgrave Macmillan (London and New York) of a book by Dr. Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, Associate Professor and Chair of AUA’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) Program. The monograph is titled “Turkey, Kemalism and the Soviet Union: Problems of Modernization, Ideology and Interpretation” and is featured in the book series Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe. The series explores the relationship between the modern history and present of South-East Europe and the long imperial past of the region.

“When I started working on this topic a few years ago, I had two objectives in mind: to better understand Kemalism and its ideological transformations in the 20th century and to publish the findings with a prestigious academic press. Many scholars in Armenia are doing groundbreaking research in the humanities and social sciences; however, not many have had the opportunity to share their research outside of Armenia. It’s possible that not knowing where or how to start the process is a daunting prospect for them. In the case of my monograph, the publication process took one-and-a-half years and involved several peer review stages and hundreds of email communications with the editor, assistant editors, and copy editors. This example demonstrates that we should not shy away from the challenges the process demands, but, instead, help one another to get published abroad. We can do our research in Yerevan, Gyumri, or anywhere else in Armenia, and strive to get published with eminent publishing houses outside the country. Lastly, Oriental Studies—a firmly established and respected field of study outside Armenia—has also enjoyed a strong presence here traditionally, so I am glad that my book is poised to continue that tradition,” noted Dr. Ter-Matevosyan.

The monograph delves into the history of Kemalism by introducing the hitherto unknown Soviet perspectives on Kemalist ideology. It discusses major problems in the existing interpretations of Kemalism and how the incorporation of Soviet perspectives enriches the historiography and modern understanding of that ideology. The book looks into the origins, evolution, and transformational phases of Kemalism between the 1920s and 1970s. Looking at various phases of Soviet attitudes towards the founding ideology of Turkey and its manifestations through the lenses of Communist leaders, party functionaries, diplomats, and scholars, the book illuminates the underlying dynamics of Soviet interpretations.

“This is an important, very instructive and innovative study. Ter-Matevosyan succeeds in carefully exposing the dizzying metamorphoses of Kemalism whose early genesis the Soviet Union had more attentively followed than self-absorbed Western powers,” said Hans-Lukas Kieser, Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The presentation of the book will be held in Manoogian Hall on May 6. It is available both online and in print and can be accessed here.

The AUA PSIA program equips students with advanced analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and communication skills through the study of political science and international affairs, emphasizing local and global perspectives and practical applications of theory. The program aims to provide world-class research and teaching, through which graduates can best contribute to the development of the nation.