SEBOUH ASLANIAN SELECTED FOR ARMENIAN CHAIR AT UCLA
- An award-winning young historian has been selected to fill a chair originally occupied by retired UCLA historian Richard Hovannisian, who is widely regarded as the world's dean of Armenian studies.
Sebouh David Aslanian, who joined UCLA's department of history in September 2011 as an assistant professor of history, will be installed May 22 in the Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair.
"It was a challenge to find a scholar who could one day fill Richard Hovannisian's large shoes," said David Myers, chair of UCLA's history department. "But we believe that Sebouh Aslanian is that person, and we are delighted and honored to have him."
Aslanian is the author of "From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants From New Julfa" (University of California Press, 2011), a history of the emergence and growth of a global trade network operated by Armenian merchants.
He is now working on a microhistory of an Armenian merchant from Julfa, Marcara Avachintz, who in 1666 was appointed by Louis XIV and his minister of finance, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, as the first regional director in the Indian Ocean and Iran of the newly created French East India Company.
He is also is working on the history of the Santa Catharina, an Armenian-freighted ship that was seized by the British navy in 1748 against the backdrop of the War of the Austrian Succession. Using more than 2,000 pieces of family and mercantile correspondence that were on the ship at the time of its capture, Aslanian plans to illuminate the larger history of globalization in the Indian Ocean arena during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In addition, Aslanian is gathering material for a third book, on the history of diasporic Armenian print culture across a range of areas, including Venice, Amsterdam and Madras. At UCLA, Aslanian has taught a sweeping, two-quarter survey of Armenian history from its genesis to the 18th century. He has also taught a seminar in one of his areas of specialization - the early modern period of Armenian history (1500 to 1800).
Aslanian was selected for the chair in April 2011 after a one-year international search.
"It's a wonderful honor to have this position," Aslanian said. "I'm extremely grateful, and it's an excellent fit because I get to do both things I can't live without - researching and teaching."
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