Resnick Memorial Holocaust Lecture to Feature Peter Balakian
NEW PALTZ -- Peter Balakian, a poet and professor of literature at Colgate University, will deliver the Louis and Mildred Resnick Annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture on Monday, April 12, at the State University of New York at New Paltz. His topic will be " Transmitting Trauma Across Generations: Growing up in the Suburbs and the Armenian Genocide."
In addition to serving as director of Colgate's new Center for the study of Ethics and World Societies, Balakian teaches a course titled, The Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, and has written the widely acclaimed memoir, Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Discovers His Armenian Past. The book earned the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for Memoir and was cited for its artistic achievement, its complex narrative, its innovative structure, and its elegant and poetic language. The New York Times listed Black Dog of Fate as a "notable book of 1997," and the Los Angeles Times, Publisher's Weekly, and Library Journal all listed it as a "best book of the year." The Philadelphia Inquirer called Black Dog of Fate "a landmark chapter in the literature of witness."
Balakian grew up an acculturated American in Teaneck and Tenafly, New Jersey during the 1950s and 1960s. It was not until he reached adulthood that he learned that his family was almost wiped out in the Armenian genocide of 1915, in which the Turkish government killed more than one million Armenians. Balakian is part of the first generation of Armenian-Americans to speak openly about the tragedy.
Balakian is also the initiator of a national movement, defined by the petition, "Taking a Stand Against the Turkish Government's Denial of the Armenian Genocide and Scholarly Corruption in the Academy." Along with more than 150 writers, scholars, and academics, including Robert J. Lifton and Raul Hilberg, both of whom have made presentations in the Louis and Mildred Resnick Holocaust Memorial Series, Balakian has campaigned to draw attention to what he feels are continuing Turkish efforts to deny the Armenian genocide, including Turkish attempts to fund chairs at major American universities for the sake of rewriting history.
Balakian is the author of four books of poetry; a book on the American poet, Theodore Roethke; and a translation of the Armenian poet, Siamanto. He earned his doctorate at Brown University. The lecture, which will take place in Lecture Center 100 at 7:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Louis and Mildred Resnick Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Life. There is no admission charge.
The Louis and Mildred Resnick Annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture is made possible by a generous gift to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation from Louis and Mildred Resnick, of Ellenville. Building upon activities and programs in Jewish Studies already supported by the Resnick endowment, the Resnick Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Life offers educational, research, and Jewish archival programming for both the campus and the greater community it serves.
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