As one of the few surviving and active Western Armenian women authors today, I often think about the role of women authors in the emergence of an Armenian imaginary or an Armenian futurism. My talk will draw from a current creative project around life-writing which aligns and interweaves my own familial history with the works of my literary foremothers. Through a discussion of my own conceptual creation, I will make the following critical argument: that across the life-writing of a number of Western Armenian women authors, there is the foresight of an imagined Armenian future that is not disabled by the genocidal trauma of its past.
My critical approach reframes and challenges the standard ways in which Armenian literary history is compiled and taught, by asking to shift its paradigms from the narrative of a traumatic-patriarchal framing to a healed-matriarchal one. By taking examples from both the poetry and the life-writing of several Armenian women authors, I further argue that this category of texts function expansively, by providing both a hopeful and holistic experience, beyond the factual and the prescriptive, towards self-induced and intentionally positioned explorations, that contribute to a Armenian imaginary that can free itself from the binds of its historic trauma. My paper will also bring in the discussion of how such a framing and approach to Armenian literary history can help work through questions around the status of Western Armenian as an endangered language— currently categorized as “Endangered I” or “definitely endangered” by UNESCO.