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Armenian Print Culture in the Early Modern Period

Sebouh Aslanian

Dr. Aslanian reflects on the intricate relationship between port-city merchants and printers in the history of Armenian print culture.

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June 2022


Armenian Print Culture in the Early Modern Period

The history of Armenian print culture is intricately linked to that of Armenian long-distance merchants, a connection that led to the establishment of Armenian printing presses in key port cities across Europe and Asia and a flourishing of Armenian print culture in the early modern period. Here, Dr. Sebouh Aslanian examines the factors that contributed to Armenians’ early adoption of print technology and a shift from manuscripts to printed books at the beginning of the sixteenth century.


Dr. Sebouh David Aslanian is the Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair of Modern Armenian History and Professor in the Department of History at UCLA. Aslanian is the author of From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011) which was the recipient of the PEN Center’s Exceptional UC Press First Book Award and winner of the Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award, Middle East Studies Association (MESA), 2011. His essay “Une vie sur plusieurs continent: Microhistoire globale d'un agent arménien de la Compagnie des Indes orientales (1666-1688)" appeared in Annales: Histoire, Science Sociales in 2019. Aslanian's second book manuscript, Early Modernity and Mobility: Port Cities and Printers Across the Armenian Diaspora, 1512-1800 is scheduled to appear from Yale University Press in the spring of 2023.  He is also working on a manuscript on the global microhistory of the early modern Indian ocean based on the voyage of an Armenian-freighted ship called the Santa Catharina.


Topics: Armenian Diaspora Arts/Culture History Literature