The USC Institute of Armenian Studies podcast channel, “New Roads”, is a new avenue for promoting scholarship that addresses national and global challenges that, in turn, impact policy, development, and progress. “These public discussions about history, politics, health and every other area of research take scholarship to the public square, where it can impact decision making and strategic planning within communities and especially in the Republic of Armenia,” said Institute Director Salpi Ghazarian. The podcast channel has a growing number of different series, such as Unpacking Armenia Studies, The Quake, and Eench by Eench. Others are planned.
Unpacking Armenian Studies, hosted by Ghazarian, is home to interviews with academics, journalists and policymakers in the field of – and on the fringes of – Armenian Studies. It seeks to understand and make accessible the conversations about who these scholars are, what they do and why it matters. It’s an effort to humanize Armenian Studies, make it more accessible, and show it for the broad, varied field that it has become. It is important and relevant in understanding the Armenian experience today.
You will hear from Rober Koptas about running an Armenian publishing house in Turkey. There is Dr. Anna Ohanyan of Stonehill College talking about non-traditional conflicts and complicated geo-political agendas in the Caucasus and in the Balkans. You will hear from Dr. Kristin Cavoukian of the University of Toronto as she discusses Armenian-ness, identity, and exclusion as both personal and academic questions. Dr. Tom Catena, a Catholic missionary and the only resident surgeon practicing under harrowing conditions in the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan, is also a guest on the show. He talks about humanitarian work, his work in Nuba and about his role as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate.
Dr. Houri Berberian, Meghrouni Family Presidential Chair in Armenian Studies at UC Irvine, who has written about Armenian involvement in Iran’s Constitutional Revolution, talks about everything from life in Lebanon during the Civil War to undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley where she came to appreciate the connectedness of the peoples and issues of the greater Middle East and the Armenian role in regional processes.
“The people, the graduate students, the young scholars who are doing Armenian History now are doing it very differently. They are doing it within regional and global contexts, and are looking at connections, and transnationalism, and gender and sexuality – things that no Armenian scholars have touched until now, and that’s very important.” said Dr. Berberian to USC Institute of Armenian Studies Director, Salpi Ghazarian. “Armenian studies is about 50 years behind in these things and we have a lot of catching up to do.”
Dr. Sebouh Aslanian talks discusses the Armenian merchants from Iran’s New Julfa region who operated simultaneously and successfully across all the major empires of the 17th and18th centuries. These merchants were the original transnational, global Armenians, and their legacy is visible throughout South and East Asia in the form of churches and cultural monuments. Their philanthropy bankrolled Armenian printing capacity in Venice, Amsterdam, Livorno, Madras, Calcutta, Lvov and New Julfa.
Dr. Christina Maranci, Professor of Armenian Art at Tufts University, is the author of a chapter in the Armenia! exhibit catalogue on Armenian art, religion, and trade in the Middle Ages. She talks about her research that places art, architecture, and the material objects of Armenia and Armenians within a critical and historical context. UCLA’s Dr. Shant Shekherdimian discusses about Armenia’s and Karabakh’s health care systems and the Diaspora’s role. Dr. Katy Pearce, a professor of communications at the University of Washington, talks about Armenia, Azerbaijan, social media, and the study of societal transformation. Dr. Georgi Derluguian of NYU Abu Dhabi, discusses ‘normal’ life in the Soviet Union, Armenia’s post-Soviet evolution, revolution, and the “New Armenia.”
In The Quake, the Institute’s Chitjian Research Archivist Gegham Mughnetsyan explores the very personal and public history of the powerful Spitak earthquake that devastated the northern region of Armenia and his hometown Gyumri on December 7, 1988. He delves into the challenges that complicated the region’s recovery process and that buried the future and promise of an entire generation.
You can listen to the podcasts by searching for New Roads on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/user-799767374) or anywhere you get your podcasts or by visiting armenian.usc.edu.