Radio host to discuss ‘Murder at the Altar’ at CSUB History Forum

April 23, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

California State University, Bakersfield's history department presents Terry Phillips, journalist and host of KVPR's "Quality of Life" show, for their spring History Forum titled "Murder at the Altar: A Historical Novel" on Friday, May 2 at 3:30 p.m. in the Albertson Room.

Phillips, a long-time war correspondent for CBS, NBC and NPR, will discuss his recently published historical novel, "Murder at the Altar." The story centers around the murder of the leader of the Armenian church in America, Archbishop Ghevont Tourian, on December 24, 1933. This act of violence became a touchstone for intra-ethnic conflict amongst Armenians in America, but the story is also a poignant example of the tensions and contradictions created by the Cold War, some of which lingered long after the USSR's collapse, said Mark Baker, CSUB history professor.

"Phillips sees the case as a metaphor for all religious and ethnic conflicts in our world and the great difficulties we repeatedly encounter in trying to resolve them," Baker continued.

After an informal talk, the author will welcome questions and comments from the audience. Autographed copies of his book will be available for sale after the forum.

Since its inception in 1999, the History Forum has presented one speaker per academic quarter. Past topics have included the history of the California wine industry by historian Victor Geraci; an oral history and the Chicano experience in World War II given by Mario Garcia, from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the history of the Basque settlement in Bakersfield presented by Jeri Echeverria, Fresno State University provost and historian.

The forum is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and parking will be free in lots B and C. For more information please call Baker in the history department at (661) 654-6833 or log onto