Anna Blurtsyan


Her BA and first MA degrees were in Psychology, at the Yerevan State University in Armenia. The MA included a dissertation on self-consciousness in ancient Greek tragedies (Sophocles, Oedipus the King and Antigone) and her study of ancient Greek culture was further developed in the MA programme she followed at the University of Exeter, on ancient drama in its social and intellectual context. This formed the basis for her PhD research, which was supported by a UK government Overseas Research Studentship grant. The research was on incest in Latin literature, focusing on Ovid's Metamorphoses and Seneca's tragedies, especially Phaedra. The thesis was designed to combine detailed analysis of the relevant Latin texts, and of the way in which incest was represented in the texts, with reflection on the broader psychological, social and ethical questions raised by the topic. Subsequently, she has held academic appointments in Ifrane (Morocco) and Tuscania and Rome (Italy), following earlier undergraduate teaching at the University of Exeter (U.K.). Her teaching has covered introduction to psychology, key learning and study skills (in Morocco) and ancient Roman and Etruscan culture (in Italy). The research project (funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation) she is currently conducting at CES Coimbra is on 'The aesthetics of praxis and of the idle', a study of 20th century Armenian culture, with current focus on literature. Her starting point is the shift from the industrialisation of Armenia in the Soviet era to its decline and the unemployment and economic uncertainties of the post-Soviet period. She proposes to approach this topic through the literature, art and other cultural models and symbols of the period. This offers a prospect of exploring this shift as one of culture and mentality as well as socio-economic activity.