Today is Armenia’s independence day – the thirtieth anniversary, in fact, of this latest manifestation of a place called Armenia on the world map. It has not been an easy three decades, and the last twelve months and more have been marked with a pandemic and a devastating war and its aftermath, among other challenging phenomena.
For the past two weeks now, I have been in Kapan, in the province of Siunik in the south of the country, doing fieldwork for my dissertation. So far, I have conducted about a dozen interviews and had numerous conversations with locals about Siunik and the experience of the new geography of the province and the country since last year. That’s the over-arching theme of the dissertation. Although I do not have many substantial conclusions to draw as of yet, one common theme that has appeared is indigeneity. It is a prevailing part of Armenian discourse that the Armenians are the original inhabitants of this land, their historical homeland.