FRESNO — The Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno announces the publication of its fifteenth volume, From My Life and Thought: Reflections on an Armenian-American Journey, a memoir by Dennis R. Papazian, a well-known community leader, Professor Emeritus of History, and founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.
Writer Michael Bobelian, who provides the foreword to the volume, describes the post-genocide twentieth century Armenian-American experience as one that witnessed the transformation of the community from one of “widows and orphans” with “little economic or political clout” to a community able to come together in pursuit of more ambitious goals of genocide recognition, political advocacy, academic excellence, and success in business and the professions.
“Born in 1931,” Bobelian writes, “Dennis’s life spanned this epoch, a crucial time in Armenian-American history that has long been overlooked by Armenians who have otherwise dedicated immense resources to preserving their culture. In fact, other than the late Vartan Gregorian, none of Dennis’s peers have produced an account of this time period.”
According to Bobelian, “this memoir provides readers with a much-needed front-row seat of this transformative era. Dennis’s account of the changes endured by the Armenian-American community offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the leading institutions and individuals of his generation: Alex Manoogian, William Saroyan, and the Catholicos all make appearances in these pages. What makes Dennis so atypical is the different hats he wore. As a scholar, community leader, and spokesperson, Dennis served the Armenian-American community in myriad ways: participating in academic organizations, speaking to the press, lobbying politicians, delivering speeches, doling out grants, and so much more.”
In From My Life and Thought: Reflections on an Armenian-American Journey, Dennis Papazian shares his reflections on a quintessentially twentieth-century American life shaped by the challenges of the immigrant experience, his family’s struggle to create a life in a new land, and his determined efforts to secure an education that would ensure a life of security and the promise of the American dream.
Born ninety years ago in the pre-World War II, pre-civil rights American South of Armenian immigrant parents from Istanbul, Turkey, Papazian pursued a PhD in Russian history, becoming one of the first American students to study in the then-Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. Not only did this experience open the world to him, it also placed him in the center of major geo-political events, teaching him nuance and perspective that would lead him to become a highly sought analyst as the Soviet Union broke apart decades later.