Varak Ketsemanian graduated from the American University of Beirut in 2013 with a BA in philosophy and minor in history. After interning at the Armenian Weekly offices in Boston, MA, Ketsemanian enrolled at the University of Chicago in the MA program at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (2014-2016). His MA thesis titled “Communities in Conflict: the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party 1890-1894” examines the socio-economic role of violence in shaping inter-communal and ethnic relations by doing a local history of the Armenian Revolutionary Movement in the Ottoman Empire. Ketsemanian is currently a PhD student at Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University planning on writing the social history of the Armenian National Constitution of 1863, and the communal dynamics that it created on imperial, communal, and provincial levels. Ketsemanian’s research relates to the development of different forms of nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries, revolutionary violence, and constitutional movements. He has conducted research and has been involved in various projects in Turkey, USA, Lebanon and Armenia. He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships such as Fulbright, FLAS, and the Gulbenkian Scholarship for Armenian Studies among others. He is a frequent contributor to Aztag Daily, Asbarez and Armenian Weekly.
In this article, Varak Ketsemanian reflects on the possibilities of integrating the ARF archives on the First Republic into the larger political debate. Thus, he argues for the need of a critical and constructive re-assessment of this historical period in the nation's recent history, as a way to contribute to a long-term political convergence.
In this new essay for EVN Report, Varak Ketsemanian argues that one of the reasons Armenians have failed to come up with a palatable “national brand” lies in the absence of common political premises (beyond the Genocide and Artsakh) upon which collaborative platforms may be created in the Diaspora, but more importantly, in the Republic of Armenia.
After more than 25 years of independence, what can the role of the Armenian Republic be in shaping a discourse that would speak of Armenia in terms of a “homeland” and a genuine state?