Category Archives: THEORY OF HISTORY


On Armenian Translation of Mark Block’s “History of Defense or the Historian’s Craft”


Albert A. Stepanyan

Key words – “Annalist movement”, anthropological history, general history, short and long duration of history, civilization, legitimization of history, understanding of history, poetry of history, craft of historian.

The paper is about the renowned monograph of M. Bloch «Apologie pour l’his toire ou métier d’histoire» translated into Armenian, studied and commented by Sh. Ma kar yan and S. Hovhannisyan. On the background of achievements of Annales School, the her me neutic aspect of the monograph is discussed being focused on the basic ideas and concepts of the monograph – description, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, reasoning and under stan ding of information of primary sources in order to process of them historical facts. On the axis of historical time and causality, they make up narratives and texts capable to un cover the profound levels of the past and present. Their exact equivalents shape an opportunity to expand the borders of modern Armenian historical epistemology


Albert A. Stepanyan
Transformation of natural epic history to artificial rationalistic-pragmatic and metaphysic history occurred in Armenia under the impact of Hellenistic social and intellectual experience. During long centuries, Hellenism (with different intensity) was immanent to Armenian history. Two waves of it are trans parent. The first covered 3d -1st centuries B.C. and gained its obvious results from the reforms of Ar ta shēs I (189 – 160 B.C.), the founder of Artaxiad dynasty. It reached its heights in the 1st century, under Tigran II and his son Artavazd II. As to the second wave, it gained efficiency starting from the 4th century A.D. and was aimed to combine axiological systems of Hellenism and Christianity. Hellenistic Christianity made the core of the new paradigm of Armenian culture, which came to maturity in the Golden Age (5th – 7th cc.).



Gevorg S. Khoudinyan

Key words – Abdullah Öcalan, defense speech, civilization, capitalism, democratic society, democratic nation, United and independent Kurdistan, Democratic confederate Kurdistan, W. Wilson’s arbitral award.

The five volumes of Abdullah Öcalan’s works that are published in Russian in Moscow in 2011-2015 are written as extensive arguments of his defense speech in the Turkish court, but in fact they are scientific and political justifications for the political claims of Kurdish people. The rich knowledge and desire to find universal solutions to national problems show that in the person of A. Öcalan, who has achieved great intellectual progress of the Kurdish people, we are dealing with a surprisingly harmonious image of the national figure.

In the first volume of his works, representing the alternation of the cradle of Near-Middle Eastern civilizations and separate civilizations that emerged from GöbekliTepe-Portasar (not far from his native Urfa), Öcalan uses the fact that the geographical coordinates of the Taurus-Zagros arc as «Fertile Crescent» base correspond to the current places of residence of the Kurds and reckons them among a number of famous peoples of the Axis time, such as Assyrians, Armenians, Greeks, Jews or Persians. Thus, he repeats the groundless attempts of some Kurdish authors who make such judgments based on the play of words with historical tribes and toponyms that are close to the word «Kurd». This he distorts the fundamental principles of F. Braudel, whom he repeatedly quoted. The Brodelian notions of historical times and the «longue durée», necessary for assessing the history of civilizations, are completely distorted.

In the second volume of A. Öcalan’s works «Capitalist civilization» an attempt was made to overcome the Marxist perception of this concept and to view capitalism as a System that was formed along with commodity-money relations, and then together with the city and the state. Thanks to this, Öcalan identifies civilization and the social system, which allows him to give some civilizational essence to the struggle against capitalism, which he believes repeats the Hitler experience of creating an indicative society through his three branches (sex, sport and show).

In the third volume of his works A. Öcalan sees the solution of the fundamental problem of building a democratic civilization in the formation of political and democratic confederations to unite nations, which, in his opinion, is the only way to overcome homogeneous nation-states that are not alien to genocides and other state crimes.

In his fourth volume entitled «The Crisis of Civilization in the Near and Middle East» A. Öcalan passes to the problems of the region where he was born and fought for the solution of the Kurdish problem. Here he tries to gently transform the fact of the correspondence of modern geographic coordinates of the Kurds settlements with the cradle of ancient civilizations and turn it into the idea of the Kurdish homeland. To do this, he again and again creates unreasonable, absolutely fictitious and unscientific parallels between Sumerians and Hurrites and the Kurds now living on this territory.

The Öcalan program on the solution of the Kurdish question is more extensively presented in the fifth volume entitled «The Kurdish Question and the Implementation of the Democratic Model of the Nation». Although Öcalan considers Armenians to be a direct and immediate heir of Urartu culture, but in his vast historical digression the concept of «Armenia» is almost absent, And from the 11th century, when the Seljuks appear, he immediately replaces Armenia with the non-existent «Kurdistan». He stubbornly avoids answering one elementary question – which state existed in these territories for two thousand years after the fall of Urartu.

In the issue of assessing the causes of the Armenian Genocide, Öcalan partially repeats the statements of Marxist historians about the «expansionist goals» of the Armenian bourgeoisie as a result of the early development of capitalism among the Armenians. He also partially repeats the thesis about the «Turkish rebuff», invented by Turkish historiography, on the Armenian demand for independent statehood on the eve of the First World War. By transforming the internationally recognized (in 1914) problem of implementing reforms in Western Armenia in «Armenian separatism», he bypasses the issue of the responsibility of the Kurds for the Armenian Genocide. Meanwhile, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the responsibility for it not only of Turkey as a state, but also of the Turkish and partly Kurdish people who directly and voluntarily participated in this bacchanalia, is the only way to build a democratic society in our region.

Moreover, based on the ideas of a democratic society and democratic nation (which were discussed by A.Öcalan), the greatest democrat of the first decade of the 20th century – US President Woodrow Wilson, on November 22, 1920 has already made a true fraternal division of Armenian historical lands between Armenians, Turks and Kurds and the results of his arbitral award are fixed on the corresponding map on the basis of the international mandate. According to this arbitration, Armenians do not get «Great Armenia», as the Turkish falsifiers of history say, but only a third of their historical lands.

And irrespective of whether this division comes from the San Remo conference decisions, from the Treaty of Sevres or Woodrow Wilson’s arbitration, which retained its legal force, it was the greatest victory of democracy in our region, which was only temporarily suspended by the joint efforts of the Kemalists and the Bolsheviks. These decisions of the international community have nothing to do with the neo-imperial program of the United and Independent Kurdistan or the Democratic Confederate Kurdistan, which is the cover of the first. Because the creation of the Great Kurdistan instead of Turkey is not part of the plans of world powers.


Albert A. Stepanian
The western canon implied rational perception of history with a purpose formulated still by Herodotus as follows – to find out how, when and why (pw~§, potev, dia; tiv) happened important events of history [Herod., I, 1, 1].1 Efforts of Herodotus and his close contemporaries reformed the logographic genre of storytelling in an area of rationalistic study and explanation of the past. In accordance with this approach, the term iJstoriva was coined for denoting investigation in its proper sense.2 From this time, the image of historians gained a particular social significance since the investigation of the past (despite pure curiosity) pursued practical interests.


Part II. The History of Mentalities: the three paradigms “Structural”, “Quantitative” or “Serial” and “Integration”


Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan

Key words – History of Mentalities, “History Without People”, Human-Centered History, “Structural”, “Serial” or “Quantitative” and “Integrative” History of Mentalities.

The article discusses history of mentalities – the new paradigm worked out by the third generation of Annales School. Already in 1960s, a research project was developed in history focused on sociology and ethnology, semiotics and linguistics. It was aimed at overcoming the opposition of the two approaches in history – “history without people” and “anthropocentric history” – present already in the days of F. Braudel. The desire to respond to the like challenges led to the reconsideration of the problems of determinism in Braudel’s historical conception. Scholars traced a serious danger that the “mental framework could form a jail for the long time dimension of history.”

This was assessed as a failure of Braudel’s theory and marked a very considerable intellectual shift: if the representatives of the third generation of Annales initially followed the concept History without people”, now they intended to restore the former Anthropocentric approach to history. Consequently, the third generation again activated the concept of history of mentalities.

In general, differences in understanding of mentality are classified in the article as follows: a. structural, b. serial or quantitative, d. integrative.


Albert A. Stepanian
With Hellenistic cultural influence, the western canon of historiography – tragic and pragmatic histories – were introduced in Greater Armenia. The eminent intellectuals Methrodor of Scepsis and Artavazd II were the pioneers of this innovation. However, we have no evidence that this theoretic comprehension was developed by the subsequent historians – Mar Aba Katina, Priest Olymp, Bardetsan. Most probably, they compiled chronographies on events of the past and present of Armenian history.


Part I. The Post-Structural Paradigm and Quantitative or Serial Concepts


Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan
The paper deals with the problems of the so-called third phase of the Annales School, which met the serious challenge of working out new paradigms and concepts of studying history in the 1940-50s. It questioned the concept of Total history from the point of view of post-structural criticism. And the main actor of that was M. Fucault who elaborated a new historical discourse.

The other results of the criticism were the Quantitative and Serial concepts. They contained contradictions with the holistic method of historical research. But their consent with the latter was obvious as well since only the combination of various methods is able to uncover more profound levels of the past, present and future. In this light, the necessity of viewing history from many sides comes to the fore.


The Theory of History L. Febvre and M. Bloch


Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan

The achievements of the French Historical Movement (School) the “Annales” are obvious. The role of the founders, L. Febvre and M. Bloch, is significant in promoting the research area of the field. The borders of history and other social sciences have been extended, their interactions have been intensified. As a result, traditional (descriptive) history undertook a new mission of structuralizing the basic dimensions of historical time – the features of the past, present and future. Some scholars formulate this achievement as a “revolution in history.”

The crisis of traditional historiography had basic cases at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. It faces the problem of devising new methods of research. In its turn the latter a necessity has a risen to change the borders of history and various fields of the humanities (sociology, social anthropology, politology, geography etc.). Due to this, history, on the one hand, has expended its area of scope, and innovated on the other its research facilities.



Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan

In the context of the French Historical Annals School the achievements of the second Generation are significant. This mainly concerns Fernand Braudel in particular (1902-1985). He is famous not only in the framework of the School, but also in the historiography of the XX century.

F. Braudel’s main contribution to the theory of history was the concept of “Universal History.” It was outlined by L. Febvre and M. Bloch as a synthesis of different methods. The concept of “Universal History” is the result of that very approach.

The abovementioned makes it clear that Fernand Braudel’s concept of “Universal History” has a holistic and complex content. At the same time it doesn’t turn into one “true” and “common” interpretation. Braudel’s concept of Universal History combines its different parts into one system. Moreover, their synthesis is various. Some of them have a primary, others a secondary role. Sometimes they tend to change. The concept of “Universal History” is possible as a consequence of the harmonization of the terms “civilization,” “identity,” “mentality,” and “world-economy,” in three-dimensional time. In other words, the concept of “Universal History” is a constant element of Braudel’s understanding of history. They differ in different historical ages and events.