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.
As Armenians prepare to mark the centennial of the First Armenian Republic (1918-1920), Varak Ketsemanian writes that there seems to be little consensus regarding its true meaning, its contested legacy and the various forms through which it should be commemorated.
In an exclusive interview with EVN Report’s contributor Varak Ketsemanian, Alexander Balistreri of the University of Basel reflects on some of the larger historical and historiographical problems pertinent to the region around Kars a century ago and sheds light on the political and military developments that shaped the policies of the Armenian government and the larger regional powers.
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.