Article

The Origins of Armenian Nationalism in the United States and the American Armenian Press (1880s-1920s)

Author: Simon Payaslian

  • The Origins of Armenian Nationalism in the United States and the American Armenian Press (1880s-1920s)

    Article

    The Origins of Armenian Nationalism in the United States and the American Armenian Press (1880s-1920s)

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Abstract

The growing scholarship on the ethnic press in the United States has greatly contributed to our understanding of their functions within ethnic communities and in the broader society. This study, focusing on a sample of the Armenian ethnic press, demonstrates that in the formative stages of the Armenian immigrant community (1880s-1920s), the Armenian press promoted long-distance nationalism, on the one hand, and ‘cultural congruence’ between American and Armenian values, identities, and worldviews, on the other hand. Armenians arrived in the United States in increasing numbers beginning in the late nineteenth century, as they fled Ottoman persecutions and massacres, and the community further grew in the aftermath of the genocide during World War I. As Armenians established roots in their new environment, their cultural production during the period under consideration included more than one hundred dailies, weeklies, and monthly journals. These publications fell into three categories: nationalist/long-distance nationalist, religious, and non-political/professional. The Armenian ethnic papers catered to the tastes of nostalgic immigrants and emphasized the urgency of reforms in, or outright liberation from, the Ottoman empire. Thus, this case study demonstrates that the Armenian ethnic press propagated long-distance nationalism as they sought to forge community solidarity and to fortify cultural preservation. At the same time, they also promoted American values, the American Dream, active citizenship, and Americanization in general—a significant point regarding the paradoxical role of the ethnic press in host societies but often neglected in the literature on ethnonationalism and long-distance nationalism. This article also briefly discusses the long-term ramifications of Armenian ethnic cultural development as a diaspora community in the United States.

Keywords: American Armenian community, ethnic identity, ethnic press, long-distance nationalism, cultural congruence

How to Cite:

Payaslian, S., (2023) “The Origins of Armenian Nationalism in the United States and the American Armenian Press (1880s-1920s)”, Studies on National Movements 11(1), 92-122. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/snm.89001

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Published on
18 Aug 2023
Peer Reviewed