Trauma and Memory: Tears in the Fabric of Armenian and Greek Communities. A Poetry Reading and Film Screening

Friday, February 17, 2017
3:00pm - 6:00pm
612 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University

Please join the Harriman Institute and the Black Sea Networks for a discussion with the poet Stephanos Papadopoulos and filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian.

Discussants: Bella Grigoryan (Yale University) and Isin Onol (University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria)

Moderator: Valentina Izmirlieva (Columbia University) will moderate.

THE BLACK SEA is a long poem-cycle about the Black Sea Greeks and their exodus from that region. The Black Sea explores the historic “great catastrophe” of the Pontic Greeks of Asia Minor in the 1920s through a series of “sonnet-monologues” or voices from the past. Priests, prostitutes, soldiers, and a bizarre cast of characters move through this poetic re-imagining of a tragic chapter in Greece’s history.

Stephanos Papadopoulos was born in North Carolina in 1976 and raised in Paris and Athens. He is the author of three books of poems: Lost DaysHôtel-Dieu, and The Black Sea, as well as the editor and co-translator (with Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke) of Derek Walcott’s Selected Poems into Greek (Kastaniotis Editions, 2006). He was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship for The Black Sea and in 2014 he was awarded the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize selected by Mark Strand. His poems and translations have appeared in journals such as The New RepublicThe Yale ReviewPoetry ReviewStand Magazine and he writes regularly for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

GRANDMA’S TATTOOS is a personal film about what happened to many Armenian women during the genocide of 1915. Author and filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian makes a personal journey into her own family to investigate the truth behind Khanoum, her late grandmother. The film is like a ghost story; a mystery, a taboo. No one wants to tell the whole story. In order to bring the pieces of the puzzle together we move between different scenes, from today’s welfare Sweden all the way to Suzanne Khardalian’s childhood in Beirut. Produced by PeÅ Holmquist.

Suzanne Khardalian is an independent filmmaker and writer. She studied journalism in Beirut and Paris and worked as a journalist in Paris until 1988 when she started to work in film. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and contributes articles to various journals. She had directed a dozen films that have been shown both in Europe and in the USA.

The event is co-sponsored by the Program in Hellenic Studies, Columbia University.

The Black Sea Networks—the recipient of the President’s Global Innovation Fund grant for 2016-2018—is a new teaching, learning, and research initiative at Columbia University. Housed in Columbia’s Slavic Department and led by Professor Valentina Izmirlieva, the project aims to re-conceptualize existing multidisciplinary programs and initiatives within a larger Black Sea framework and to encourage undergraduate and graduate education in Black Sea Studies. Truly global in its scope, the initiative is developed by an international team of scholars in partnership with Yale University, NYU, Cambridge University, and Columbia’s Global Centers in Istanbul and Paris, and boasts the support of the Harriman Institute, the American Councils for International Education (Washington D.C.), the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, and a vast network of institutions across the Black Sea region. For more information, visit