Forty years ago the Manoogian Foundation, then headed by Detroit entrepreneur Alex Manoogian, had the foresight to fund a chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan. Its first chairholder and the founder of the Armenian Studies Program was historian Ronald Grigor Suny. In its first years the aims of the program were modest: to encourage the study of the Armenian past, its present condition, the life of the diaspora, and the centuries-old culture of Armenians. Courses were taught, festivals organized, and the program grew. Subsequent chairholders – anthropologist Stephanie Platz, historian Gerard Libaridian, and currently anthropologist Hakem Al-Rustom – were joined by literary historian Kevork Bardakjian, holder of the Marie Manoogian Chair in Armenian Language and Literature, eventually creating under directors Kathryn Babayan and Melanie Tanielian a Center for Armenian Studies (CAS). Graduates of the program and center have gone on to fill academic positions in major universities, and those taking courses have expanded the community's knowledge of and commitment to Armenian life. From the initial inspiration of Alex Manoogian, assisted and encouraged by literary critic Edmond Azadian, Michigan graduate Alice Haidostian, and dean of pharmacy Ara Paul, Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan has grown into the premier program exploring the heritage of Armenians in our time.

March 11, 2022 - Armenian Transformations, 1981-2021: How Forty Years of Michigan Armenian Studies Looked at Imperial Collapse, Ethnic War, and the Rebirth of Independence
From the creation of the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History in 1981 to the catastrophic defeat of the Armenian Republic in the second Nagorno-Karabakh war, scholars at the University of Michigan have been in the vanguard of examining and attempting to understand the experiences of Armenians in modern times. When the chair was established, Armenia was a small Soviet republic, and half of the world's Armenians lived in scattered diasporic communities. Within a decade the Soviet empire had disintegrated, and Armenia became an independent state beset by hostile neighbors. The republic survived despite losses of population and economic distress. A thriving civil society defied the rule of oligarchs and self-serving politicians, and in 2018 crowds marched to the capital to make a democratic revolution. Just as they rebounded from genocide more than 100 years ago, Armenians once again must deal with loss and find a path to renewal.

Examining the recent past of Armenians in the homeland and in the diaspora, three Manoogian chairholders – Ronald Grigor Suny, Gerard Libaridian, and Hakem Al-Rustom – will present short talks on the turbulent events of the last four decades.

To learn more about this event and to register for the webinar, click here.

March 12, 2022 - A Hit Parade of Historical Turns: From A Russian Perspective
This one-day conference offers an overview of the development of the Russian/Soviet history field through critical engagement with some of the most original and methodologically exciting turning points. Each panel centers on a different thematic area or methodological approach, with a key text suggested for discussion. The conference schedule roughly follows the chronological trajectory of Ronald G. Suny’s oeuvre: from his earliest studies on the social history of the October Revolution, through his engagement with the cultural turn of the 1980s-90s and focus on non-Russian nationalities within the USSR, and finally to more recent work on empire and affect. Panelists will provide an assessment of Suny’s contributions in these areas, as well as personal reflections on how these historiographic turns have influenced their own lives and intellectual projects.

To learn more about this event and to register for the webinar, click here.