Research Program

The Institute offers junior and senior scholars the resources to pursue new and rigorous research on the forces and factors that shape and impact the Republic of Armenia, the Diaspora, and Karabakh.

In the Spring of 2018, the world watched as large-scale peaceful protests combined with acts of civil disobedience overthrew Armenia’s autocratic regime in what came to be known as the Velvet Revolution. Free of influence from outside forces, this democratic transition has altered the regional fabric. Unlike previous movements in the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, it was not geopolitically polarizing. The movement was decentralized and disciplined, and nonviolent tactics were applied with consistency and determination. The Armenian transition, driven by non elites and built on decades of civic activism, unfolded through the country’s institutions rather than against them. Following the formation of a new government, Armenia’s institutions have begun the processes of reforms, moving from the streets to institution-building.

With support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 23 researchers examined the following areas:

  • The interests, institutions, socio-economic conditions, values, identities, and regional as well as global security conditions that shaped the context and primed the groundwork of the movement.
  • The strategies and events that facilitated the Velvet Revolution.
  • The challenges of democratic consolidation.
Here are the projects that the Institute funding supported:

“The Platform State: Technologies of Citizenship in Post-Revolutionary Armenia”
Adriaans, Rik
University College London, UK

“Democratic Consolidation and Higher Education in Armenia”
Apyan, Ani
Claremont Graduate University, USA

“What Made the Mobilization of Such a Large Number of People Possible?”
Baghdasaryan, Margarita
London School of Economics, UK

“Armenian Diaspora and the Velvet Revolution: Attitudes to Political Transition and Digital Experiences of Consolidation Among Diasporic Youth in Russia and the UK”
Chernobrov, Dmitry
University of Sheffield, UK

“Evaluating the Effectiveness of Asset Declarations in Combating Corruption: A Research Proposal for Armenia”
Coberly; Gingerich, Carolyn; Dan
University of Virginia, USA

“Armenia’s National Role Conception After the Velvet Revolution and the Implications for the Country’s Foreign Policy”
Danoyan, Marina
Tampere University, Finland

“Engagement for Democracy from Abroad: Case Study of the Armenian Community in Glendale”
Galstyan, Nare
Brusov State University, Armenia

“Political Rhetoric and Changes in Labour Market Decisions in Armenia”
Ghazaryan, Armine
University of Southampton, UK

“When Triggers Cause Unrest: Explaining New Revolutions in the Post-Soviet Region”
Gorelik, Stas
George Washington University, USA

“The Impact of Mining on Social Outcomes in Armenia”
Grigoryan, Aleksandr
American University of Armenia, Armenia

“Post-Revolution New Armenia: Ideologies of Political Parties on Nagorno Karabakh Conflict in the New Parliament of Armenia”
Grigoryan, Hasmik
Dublin City University, Ireland

“Pashinyan vs. the Karabakh Clan: Re-examining Patronal Relations between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”
Jaksa, Urban
University of York, UK/Slovenia

“Perceptions of State Initiated Social Change Towards Inclusivity of Armenia’s LGBT Community”
Karamanian, Armen
Macquarie University, Australia

“Emerging Agricultural Clusters in Armenia”
Khachatryan, Knar
American University of Armenia, Armenia

“Democratic Consolidation or Partial Insulation: Examining Institutional Reform and Armenia’s Democratic Breakthrough”
Kopalyan, Nerses
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

“Contending Voices in Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution”
Kotchikian, Asbed
Bentley University, USA

“The Influence of Facebook on Youth Political Participation in Post-Revolutionary Armenia”
Melkonyan, Viktorya
Yerevan State University, Armenia

“A Tale of Two Elections: Analyzing the Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Voter Turnout in Armenia”
Oganesyan; Asatryan, Rafael; Zareh
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA/Germany

“Rethinking Borders and Identities in Armenian Education”
Palandjian, Garine
Arizona State University, USA

“The Defense Sector and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation”
Papazian, Taline
Sciences Po Paris, France

“Velvet Revolution: Emergence of a New Political Culture in Armenia?”
Porto Bogossian, Pedro
Université Paris Diderot, Brazil

“Linking to the Roots: Idealization of the Democratic Republic of Armenia of 1918 in the Revolutionary Discourse of 2018”
Sahakyan, Naira
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Regime Change in Armenia and Its Impact on the Dynamics of the Karabakh Negotiations”
Ter-Matevosyan; Nikoghosyan, Vahram; Hovhannes
American University of Armenia, Armenia

Since the Soviet collapse, the Republic of Armenia – like all Soviet successor states – has undergone its own unique political, social, and economic transition process. The paradigm of transitology presupposes a fairly linear trajectory from authoritarianism to democratization and closer ties with Europe. Yet Armenia’s has been a decidedly nonlinear path toward democracy, a market economy, and most recently, to regional integration within the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. Post-Soviet scholarship has paid relatively scant attention to the case of Armenia.

To understand these political, economic, and social processes of the past twenty-five years, and to fill the gap in scholarship, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supported 23 researchers examining the following areas:

  • Demographics: fertility, mortality, and migration.
  • Patterns of social inequality.
  • Family, gender, and sexuality.
  • Regionalisms of Armenia.
  • Social policy: Education, healthcare, pensions, social security and housing.
  • Formal and informal political institutions and economy.
  • Rurality: changing agricultural systems, climate change, local economies and depopulation.
  • Foreign policy.
  • Bottom-up cultural production, social shifts, social movements, and political contention.
  • Armenia-Diaspora relations.
  • Regional (South Caucasus) and global integration.
  • Comparative analyses with political, social, and economic issues in other post-Soviet states.
Here are the projects that the Institute funding supported:

“Digital Homecomings: Social Media in Repatriate Yerevan”
Adriaans, Rik
Central Europe University, Hungary

“Imminence of War and Gender Ideology in Nagorno Karabakh”
Agadjanian, Victor
University of Kansas, United States

“Public Policy and Entrepreneurship: Evidence From Armenian Communities”
Asatryan, Zareh
University of Freiburg, Germany

“Family Alienation in Terms of Labor Migration in the Republic of Armenia: A Comparative Analysis”
Atoyan, Anna
Yerevan State University, Armenia

“Democracy Exchange: United States Support for Democracy”
Babayan, Nelli
University of Freiburg, Germany

“The Armenian Diaspora Identity and the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict”
Chernobrov, Dmitry
University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

“The (Unfinished) Transition of the Armenian Diaspora: From Stateless to State-building Entity?”
Danielyan; Seferan, Hamazasp; Nareg
Yerevan State University, Armenia

“Resistant Postmodernisms: Writing Postcommunism in Armenia and Russia”
Douzjian, Myrna
University of California Los Angeles, United States

“Connection Without Engagement: Paradoxes of North American Armenian Return Migration”
Fittante, Daniel
UCLA, United States

“Rural Economy in 25 Years of Independence: Economic, Social and Cultural Patterns”
Gabrielyan, Mkhitar R.
Yerevan State University, Armenia

“Syrian-Armenians: Refugees or Agents of Change?”
Ghazarian; Poghosyan, Armen; Alina
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

“Exploring Domestic Violence Intervention in Yerevan, Armenia”
Ghazaryan, Nelli
George Washington University, United States

“Disproportional Regional Development in Armenia: Causes, Consequences and Policies”
Grigoryan; Khachatryan, Aleksandry; Knar
College of Business and Economic, American University of Armenia

“End of Transition – Shifting Focus A Quarter Century After the Soviet Collapse”
Mirzaeian, Narineh
University of California, Los Angeles, United States

“Soldiers, Statesman, and Statesman: Armenia Diplomacy in a Context of Regional Fracture in the South Caucasus”
Ohanyan, Anna
Stonehill College, United States

“War, Democracy and The Next Generation: The Surprising Teachings of War Veterans”
Papazian, Taline
University of Nanterre, France

“Exploring Different Patterns of Nation State Diaspora Relations Within the Heterogeneous Diasporic Groups of the Post-Soviet Space”
Ponomareva; Hovhannisyan, Elli; Eviya
European University at Saint-Petersburg, Russia

“The Armenians of Telavi: Social memory and cultural anxiety in post-Soviet Georgia”
Popov, Anton
Aston State University, United Kingdom

“What Calls People to Action Despite All Odds”
Sargsyan, Nelli
Marlboro College, United States

“The Missing Link: The United States, Armenia and Energy Sources in the South Caucuses”
Stocker, James R.
Trinity Washington University, United States

“Poverty, Inequality and Everyday Life in Post-Soviet Armenia”
Tadevosyan, Aghasi
Yerevan State University, Armenia

“Conflicts That Did Not Happen: Revisiting the Soviet Policy on Nationalities and the Javakhk Affair”
Ter-Matevosyan; Currie, Vahram; Brent
American University of Armenia

“Geopolitical Challenges and National Identity in Armenia: Exploring the Contours of Domestic Insecurities and the Russian Security Discourse”
Zimmer, Ulrike
The University of Winchester, United Kingdom

“Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy: The Republic of Armenia and Ani”
Watenpaugh, Heghnar
University of California David, United States

The 2016 escalation of the Karabakh conflict – the worst since 1994 – marks a new phase in the three decades of the conflict and highlights the need for research on the region.

To fill the scholarship gap on this issue and region, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supported 14 researchers conducting original academic and policy research focusing on the many issues and topics that relate to Nagorno Karabakh and its wider region.

Here are the projects that the Institute funding supported:

“The Experience of Women During the Four-Day War in Nagorno Karabakh: A Sociological Analysis of Gender Perspective”
Atoyan; Ghahriyan, Anna; Shushan
Yerevan State University, Armenia

“Frozen Conflicts Heat Up: The Consequences of Nagorno-Karabakh”
Babayan, Nelli
Foreign Policy Research Institute, United States

“The Phases and Influential Factors of Institution-Based Formation and Development of the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic Politic System”

Beglaryan, Artak
Institute for National Strategic Studies, Nagorno Karabakh

“Empowering Women in a “Strong-Man” Culture: Reflections on the Particularity of the Karabakh Case”
Beukian; Shahnazarian, Sevan; Nona
University of Alberta, Canada
The National Academy of Sciences, Armenia

“The Economic Impact of Landmines in Nagorno Karabakh”
Der-Grigorian, Babken
London School of Economics, England

“Nagorno Karabakh: Discourse On Its Status and “National Significance” in 1918-1923 and Today’s Representation of That Period”
Gamaghelyan; Rumyansev, Philip; Sergey
Georgetown University, United States

“Political and Military Implications of the Four-Day War In Nagorno Karabakh”
Gasparyan, Arsen
University of Miami, United States

“Assessing Health System Infrastructure and Health Service Delivery in Nagorno Karabakh: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Major Health Services”
Gerber; Shekherdimian, Kent; Shant
University of California, Los Angeles, United States

“Final Research Report: ‘Reactional (Trans)nationalism. Transformation of National Discourse From the Center to the Periphery.’”
Hovhannisyan, E.; Ponomareva, E.; Strzemzalska, A.
European University at Saint-Petersburg, Russia

“Do Conflicts Render States Less Accountable? Re-examining Social Contract Through Public Goods Provision in Armenia”
Kitaevich, Jane
University of Michigan, United States

“Emergency Medical Services and Primary Care Access in Nagorno-Karabakh”
Nalbandian, Dickran
University of Southern California, United States

“Report on the Research Project ‘Reassessing the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict in the Aftermath of the ‘4-Day War””
Papazian, Taline
Institut des Sciences sociales du Politique, France

“Karabakh Place-Names as Symbolic Devices in the Contest for Political Legitimacy”
Saparov, Arsene
University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

“Living with Uncertainty: Strategies of Daily Life and Life Decisions in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic”
Siekierski, Konrad
King’s College, London, England