Sebouh Aslanian, professor of history and holder of the Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, has been appointed the first director of the Armenian Studies Center housed within the The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA.

Aslanian is author of the award-winning book, “From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa” (University of California, 2011), as well as scholarly articles on Armenian history and Armenian studies. He is currently working on two book projects. The first is a history of early modern global Armenian print culture that rethinks both the role of mobility in that time period and the rise and development of Gutenberg print culture across the diasporic Armenian communities in the port cities of the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

The second book project is a narrative microhistory of trade and politics in the early modern Indian Ocean region. The book relies on 2,000 pieces of mercantile and family correspondence, commercial contracts and other papers stored on an Armenian-freighted ship, the Santa Catharina, that was seized by the British navy in 1748. 

Aslanian will work closely with Ann Karagozian, inaugural director of The Promise Armenian Institute and distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. The institute is a new entity within the UCLA International Institute and was made possible with a $20 million gift from the estate of Kirk Kerkorian. The Promise Armenian Institute positions UCLA to build significantly upon its more than 50 years of history of Armenian studies. This new institute is the hub for world-class research and teaching on Armenian studies, including the Armenian Studies Center, and for coordinating new and ongoing research and public impact programs across UCLA, from social sciences to health sciences, from humanities to music, the arts and engineering, and from public policy to management.