Featured weekly article: Motherhood as Armenianness: Expressions of Femininity in the Making of Armenian National Identity

Motherhood as Armenianness: Expressions of Femininity in the Making of Armenian National Identity

By Seven Beukian

Volume 14, Issue 2, pages 247-269

Abstract

This article explores the discourses on gender roles and the place of Armenian women in the Armenian nation-building process, especially focusing on the changes since the 1988 national movement formation. This study is based on extensive interviews conducted in Armenia and Karabakh in 2011. Although Armenian women were praised for their role during the nationalist movement of 1988 and the Karabakh war, they went back into their ‘traditional’ role in the aftermath. Motherhood is a strong concept in Armenian women’s (self-)identification with their nation, constructing it as a unique Armenian trait that distinguishes Armenian women from ‘others’. The self-expression of women highlights the authenticity of Armenian constructions of femininity as motherhood, embedded in the national and ethnic self-identification of Armenian women. The concept of Armenian motherhood is therefore a particular expression filtered through a distinct history of national struggle and genocide, and upheld by Armenian women through that perception.

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