Book Review: Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh’s Missing Pages

I recently published a book review of Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh’s award-winning cultural history of the Zeytun Gospels, an Armenian manuscript looted during the Armenian Genocide in 1915. I argue that the destruction of heritage was a criterion of genocide that Raphael Lemkin considered but did not finally include in the final draft of the UN Convention for the Prevention of Genocide (1948). The Missing Pages effectively resuscitates his project making the case for heritage as a human right and the destruction of art as an act of cultural genocide.

“An illuminated manuscript containing the Gospels rests in an archive in Yerevan, Armenia, while eight missing pages of canon tables––concordance lists of related biblical passages––are housed at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Missing Pages is Heghnar Watenpaugh’s biography of a “survivor object,” the Zeytun Gospels. The dismembered manuscript is a potent metaphor for the Armenian community scattered across the earth like looted pages during a genocide campaign that began in 1915. The missing canon tables were the subject of a 2010 lawsuit initiated by the Armenian Western Prelacy against the Getty Museum in Los Angeles over ownership of stolen Armenian heritage.”

You can read the full book review on Critical Inquiry’s website here.