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.

Twenty-three 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.
Together with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, research support in 2019 to the following projects totaled $75,000

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

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

What Made the Mobilization of Such a Large Number of People Possible?
Margarita Baghdasaryan
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
Dmitry Chernobrov
University of Sheffield, UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Defense Sector and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation
Taline Papazian
Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique, France

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

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

Regime Change in Armenia and Its Impact on the Dynamics of the Karabakh Negotiations
Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, Hovhannes Nikoghosyan
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.
In 2017, Institute support to the following projects totaled $90,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War, Democracy and The Next Generation: The Surprising Teachings of War Veterans
Taline Papazian
Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique, France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy: The Republic of Armenia and Ani
Heghnar Watenpaugh
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.

In 2016, the Institute support to the following projects totaled $70,000

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

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

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

Artak Beglaryan
Institute for National Strategic Studies, Nagorno Karabakh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Programs