Director's Welcome Message - Fall 2021

Department: Armenian Studies

Post Date: September 21, 2021

News Details

Dear friends of UCI Center for Armenian Studies,

I write to you on the day the Republic of Armenia turns thirty to welcome you to the 2021-2022 academic year!

I’m pleased to announce that my term as director of the Center for Armenian Studies has just been renewed for an additional five years. This demonstrates a commitment by the university to my leadership. It also affirms my commitment to UCI’s Armenian Studies. With anticipation about our plans for this academic year, I share with you news about courses, events, new students, research, and more.

We are returning to in-person instruction this Fall with courses in Armenian history (132E, Houri Berberian) and Armenian language (1A and 2A, Talar Chahinian). And, in Winter 2022, we very much look forward to welcoming to our Armenian Studies family, visiting scholar Dr. Dzovinar Derderian (Ph.D., University of Michigan) to teach History 132D, lead a workshop with our graduate students, and give a presentation on campus.

We are delighted to bring you a distinct line of programming. Although we will resume in-person instruction, given the Delta variant surge and UCI policies regarding visitors to campus, we will follow the School of Humanities' recommendation that public-facing events in Fall be virtual and thus have made some last-minute changes and pushed a few of our in-person events to Winter and Spring.

In Fall 2021, on Wednesday, October 27, please join us virtually for a Zoom webinar on the recently published edited collection, Age of Rogues: Rebels, Revolutionaries, and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires (Edinburgh University Press, 2021) with editors and chapter authors Ramazan Hakkı Öztan (ed), Alp Yenen (ed), Toygun AltıntaÅŸ, and me to discuss the book and Armenian rogues specifically.

In Winter 2022, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will warmly welcome you back in person to our public events while continuing to record and post them on our YouTube channel. In February, historian Dr. Dzovinar Derderian will present her new project, Ottoman Armenian Medicalized Discourses on Marriage and the Making of Nation and Empire. In March, art historian, Dr. Vazken Davidian, currently of the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxford, will join us to discuss his current research.

In Spring, early April, we bring you the 2020 and 2021 recipients of The Armenian Studies Prize in Honor of Sylvie Tertzakian, UCI Ph.D. students in History Arnold Alahverdian and Bedros Torosian, to present on the research that earned them the prize. In May, we welcome UCLA Promise Armenian Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Hrag Papazian to speak about his current project on Armenians in contemporary Turkey.

New students
We top off the academic year with an opportunity to meet and hear about the research of our current and especially new graduate students.  Elif Shannon-Chastain (M.A., Bilgi University, Turkey) will pursue a Ph.D. and research on Ottoman Armenian and Turkish theater between 1890 and 1925, the period when the Armenian-dominated Ottoman theater became the Turkish theater of the new republic. She is especially interested in exploring gender and the ways Ottoman Armenian actors like Eliza Binemeciyan and Kınar Sıvacıyan negotiated Turkish Muslim nationalists and intellectuals in the theater. OÄŸul Tuna (M.A., Sciences Po Lille, France) will pursue a  Ph.D. and research the circulation and influence of migrant or exiled activists and thinkers and their role on the emergence of new ideas in Ottoman, Iranian, and Russian imperial territories with a focus on the Armenian and Azerbaijani cases during the period between the fall of Ottoman Empire and the rise of the Soviet Union. Our third student, Gayane Iskandaryan (B.A., UC Berkeley) will pursue an M.A. and research post-Soviet Armenia, especially nationalism and militarization.

Research news
Bedros Torosian, whom I'm sure you already know, is in his third year as a Ph.D. student in the History Department and recently published an article, "Ottoman Armenian Racialization in an American Space (1908–1914)," Mashriq & Mahjar 8, no. 2 (2021). You may access it here.

In other research news, Dr. Talar Chahinian's book, Stateless: The Politics of the Armenian Language in Exile, which focuses on two key moments in Western Armenian literary history, Post WWI Paris and Post WWII Beirut, to examine how a stateless language sustains itself in a diasporic setting, is forthcoming with Syracuse University Press, as is her article, "The Space in Between: Overlapping Narratives of Arrival and Departure in Armenian-American Literary and Visual Arts," AmLit- American Literatures 1, no. 1 (Forthcoming Fall 2021). For her other publications, please click here.

For my recent publications, please click here. My most recent, which will be part of the discussion of Fall's webinar on the Age of Rogues, is a book chapter, “Gendered Narratives of Transgressive Politics: Recovering Revolutionary Rubina,” in Age of Rogues: Rebels, Revolutionaries, and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires, edited by Ramazan Hakki Oztan & Alp Yenen (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2021). My co-author, Talinn Grigor (Art History, UC Davis), and I also recently signed a contract with Stanford University Press for our book, Contesting the Silences: Minoritarian Modernism and the Armenian Women of Iran, which examines the history of Armenian women in modern Iran from the beginning of Naser al-Din Shah’s reign in 1848 to the 1979 fall of the Pahlavi dynasty.

We are so pleased to welcome new donors in this past year. They, along with our longtime stalwart supporters, have made it possible to fully fund Armenian language courses, endow graduate student support, and offer unrestricted funding which helps us meet the most urgent needs of the Center. Thank you for your support! If you would like to talk with someone about giving opportunities, please contact Suzi Weaver,

I hope you share our excitement about the academic year ahead. Please stay tuned for details about our upcoming events and other news.

We hope to see you soon, first virtually and then in person!

Wishing you all well,

Houri Berberian
Director of UCI Center for Armenian Studies
Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies
University of California, Irvine