This unique history and invaluable comparative study is based on extensive research conducted in both Armenia and the diaspora, including interviews and translations of Armenian-language sources. Razmik Panossian analyzes Armenians' first attempts at liberation, the Armenian renaissance of the nineteenth century, the 1915 genocide of the Ottoman Armenians, and Soviet occupation. He shows how these influences led to a "multilocal" evolution of Armenian national identity in various locations in and outside of Armenia, and how these numerous identities contribute to deep divisions and tensions within the Armenian nation today.
Panossian uses this history to argue that national identity is modern, predominantly subjective, and based on a political sense of belonging. Yet he also acknowledges the crucial role of history, art, literature, religious practice, and commerce in preserving the national memory and shaping the cultural identity of the Armenian people. Considering the diversity of this single nation, Panossian questions the theoretical assumption that nationalism must be homogenizing.