The USC Tacori Center in Mayakovski Village, just outside Yerevan, Armenia, will host its second student MasterClass on August 16-20, entitled “Post-Soviet Armenia and Social Theories.” The program is organized by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, in collaboration with Dr. Vicken Cheterian and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
The five-day program will be led by Professor Cheterian who teaches International Relations at Webster University Geneva, and Naira Sahakyan, who teaches at Armenia’s Yerevan State University and is a senior researcher at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Students will have the chance to learn from and interact with other scholars and specialists in related fields. Topics will range from diaspora-homeland relations, to post-Soviet transitions, human rights, state-formation, and ethno-territorial conflicts.
The MasterClass is open to Armenia-based young scholars who are starting Master’s degree (MA) programs, or have just finished their first MA year in political science, history, sociology, international relations, or a related discipline. Through lectures and discussions, students will acquire a basic tool-kit of theories and literature to understand the various challenges of post-Soviet states, and how best to structure their own future research projects.
Students can apply by sending a two-page resume, and a 500-word description of their MA research topic or a motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 8.
The first student MasterClass at the USC Tacori Center took place in May of this year when graduate students from Armenia gathered for a Critical Social Science Workshop. The students participated in sessions on Armenia’s geopolitical challenges in the context of domestic expectations, and post-Soviet constraints. They had the opportunity to discuss in detail their research interests, questions, and methodologies.
“The USC Tacori Center is at the cornerstone of the Institute’s expanding activities in Armenia. This student retreat, or MasterClass, highlights the Institute’s focus on both growing and cultivating research on contemporary Armenian Studies,” said Syuzanna Petrosyan, Associate Director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. “One of the challenges for higher education in post-Soviet states has been offering young scholars with the critical thinking and research skills necessary for participation in international scholarship. This week of focused activities is one effort toward meeting that urgent need, especially now at a time when Armenia’s own political, regional, international vision needs to be developed and articulated.”
Future workshops at the Tacori Center will focus on diaspora-homeland relations, Armenia’s reform processes, women’s issues, as well as the role of film in memorializing life in the 30 years after the collapse of the USSR. Since April, workshops have offered a variety of opportunities for discussion and interaction on such topics as exporting Armenian design, understanding Azerbaijan, and identifying Armenia’s regional challenges.
The Tacori Center, a gift from the Tacorian Family of Los Angeles, is a unique regional hub. Like other research and conference centers around the world, this, too, will become an important venue for discussion and learning among scholars and specialists who otherwise would find it difficult to meet and interact. Already, in less than half a year, scholars and students from around Armenia, the Caucasus, Europe and the US will be coming together to explore the arts, social sciences and humanities in ways that are significant and relevant for today’s young scholars.