The USC Institute of Armenian Studies podcast channel, “New Roads,” is a new avenue for sharing knowledge about all aspects of the Armenian experience — language, history, immigration, education — all of it, through conversations with professors and researchers whose work addresses Armenia’s urgent national and global challenges.
“Podcasts are like your own private radio station. You can just click and listen to conversations that interest you, whenever and wherever you like,” explains Institute Director Salpi Ghazarian. “These public discussions about history, politics, health and every other area of study take research to the public square, where it can inspire dialogue and impact decision making and strategic planning within the Diaspora and in the Republic of Armenia.”
“On the one hand, we say we want to know more about Armenia and Armenians, on the other hand, what we offer are long lectures or very specialized books. The Institute’s podcast series are neither boring nor so specialized that only academics understand them,” noted Sareen Habeshian, the Institute’s Media Content and Operations Manager.
The podcast channel has a growing number of different series, such as “Unpacking Armenian Studies,” “Innovate Series,” “The Quake,” and “Eench by Eench.” Others, including one on the Armenian language and how it’s used to praise and shame identity, are in the works.
Podcasts are not stuffy, boring or off-putting. Instead, they make the most complex issues accessible, understandable, and even fun.
Two unique podcasts are “The Quake” and “Eench by Eench,” both produced by Gegham Mughnetsyan, the Institute’s Chitjian Researcher Archivist. These are very brief and very personal takes. The first is about an eyewitness’s memories of the 1988 earthquake coupled with the global context that made it a geopolitical event, not just a local geological one. “Eench by Eench” plays with words, sounds and the memories they conjure. “None of these take more than five minutes to hear, but they’ll give you hours of thought,” Mughnetsyan said.
The “Innovate Series,” the Institute’s newest podcast, presents selections from talks presented at Innovate Armenia over the years. Innovate Armenia, the festival of ideas and action, is where scholars and thought-leaders from around the world challenge assumptions and offer new perspectives too good to miss.
“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.
Some of the most popular podcasts are conversations with Dr. Taner Akcam, the leading historian on the Armenian Genocide, and Armine Aleksanyan, Deputy Foreign Minister of Nagorno Karabakh.
You will hear from Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, former President of the American University of Armenia. The engineer turned university president speaks to Ghazarian about his personal, educational, and professional trajectory, focusing on the founding of the American University of Armenia, in partnership with Mihran Agbabian, Stepan Karamardian, and Louise Manoogian Simone.
You’ll also hear from Rober Koptas about running an Armenian publishing house in Turkey. Tsoleen Sarian, Executive Director of Project SAVE, the Armenian Photograph Archive based in Boston, talks about the significance of understanding, preserving, and digitizing historical documents.
Listen and subscribe to the podcast, and RSVP to the Institute’s upcoming 15th anniversary gala on September 29 to ensure more contentful programming in the year to come. More information about the gala is available online.
Established in 2005, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies supports multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience—from post-genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the evolving diaspora. The institute encourages research, publications and public service, and promotes links among the global academic and Armenian communities.