Exactly nine years since being invited to join the Strassler Center’s doctoral program at Clark University, Dr. Asya Darbinyan is “delighted and honored” to be returning as visiting professor in Armenian Genocide Studies in the fall.
“I read that acceptance letter signed by Dr. Deborah Dwork—the founding director of the Center and one of my role models in academia—and it felt like a dream come true,” Darbinyan told the Weekly. “Now imagine how thrilled I am to be invited back and this time as a professor.”
The university community and friends of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies learned of Darbinyan’s return last week via an email from executive director Mary Jane Rein, Ph.D
Darbinyan’s research and teaching expertise stand at the intersection of Armenian history, the history of the Russian Empire, genocide, refugees and humanitarian interventions, with a focus on the agency and actions of refugees in addressing their suffering and plight. Having completed her Ph.D. in 2019 under the direction of Taner Akçam, Darbinyan currently is a postdoctoral scholar at the Martin-Springer Institute in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at Northern Arizona University. From 2019-2020, she was a Fellow in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University. She holds M.A. and B.A. degrees in international relations from Yerevan State University. Before joining Strassler’s doctoral program, Darbinyan was a senior researcher and the deputy director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan from 2008-2013.
Darbinyan told the Weekly that she is enthusiastic about the prospect of returning to the vibrant intellectual community at Clark University. “I will seize the opportunity to learn more from and work with the exceptional group of professors and students at the Strassler Center, and in a variety of departments,” she said.
Darbinyan’s postdoctoral experiences at both Stockton University and the Martin-Springer Institute include offering undergraduate and graduate-level courses on Armenian Genocide and Holocaust history, along with women’s experiences during genocide and others. In addition, she has been revising her dissertation into a book manuscript while also working on a book proposal which she plans to submit to academic presses in the coming months.
In the fall 2022 semester, Darbinyan will have two offerings at Clark: a lecture course titled “History of Armenia,” which will cover the history of the Armenian people from antiquity to the 21st century, and a seminar course she designed and is currently teaching on “Genocide and Women.” She explained that the seminar “examines the multifaceted roles women have played in genocidal and post-genocidal societies by conducting gendered analysis of mass atrocity. Focusing on women’s experiences during the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, as well as the genocides in Bangladesh, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Iraq, this course analyzes the relation between gender, ethnicity, class and violence.”
“I am eager to support, engage and help grow the Strassler Center’s current and future initiatives and programs with participation of my colleagues, students and local communities in Worcester, in the Greater Boston area and around the world,” Darbinyan told the Weekly. Regarding her work in the classroom, Darbinyan concluded, “I approach teaching as a special chance to build trust with students as I motivate, challenge and learn from them. I look forward to returning to and teaching at Clark next academic year.”