LOS ANGELES — Richard Hovannisian, adjunct professor of history at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Professor Emeritus of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), will be the guest of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies at a lunchtime conversation to be held on Wednesday, January 28, at 12 p.m. at the USC Ground Zero Coffeehouse.
Titled “The ‘Half-Immigrant’: In Between California’s Generations,” Hovannisian will be speaking with Dr. William Deverell, Chair of USC Dornsife’s Department of History and Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.
Hovannisian, who was born in Tulare, Calif., to first- and second-generation Armenian-Americans, has both observed and lived the immigrant experience. He was in effect a member of the 1.5 generation of immigrant — a “half-immigrant” — too young to have known the “old country” but unable to escape its impact on parents and on memory. Raised in Central California, he studied in northern California and served as an academic in southern California, for more than half a century. Through it all, he was witness to the new waves of immigration.
He joined the UCLA faculty in 1962 and was appointed its first Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History in 1987. (That endowed chair now bears his name.) In 1969, he created the UCLA Armenian Genocide Oral History Project, in which his students would, over the next 40 years, interview more than 800 survivors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
A Guggenheim Fellow who has received numerous honors for his scholarship, civic activities, and advancement of Armenian Studies, Hovannisian is an advisor to the USC Shoah Foundation and serves on the board of directors of several organizations, including Facing History and Ourselves Foundation and the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide.