Dr. Vahe Sahakyan is a historian and sociologist broadly interested in the studies of nationalism, race, ethnicity and diaspora in theoretical and comparative perspectives. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan in 2015. He also holds Candidate of Sciences degree in Sociology from Yerevan State University (2003). Dr. Sahakyan has held various teaching, research and administrative appointments at Yerevan State University (2000-2008), and the University of Michigan (2008-2018). He also has served in many professional organizations and advisory committees internationally, and takes leading part in several research projects on Armenian diasporic communities in various countries. Between 2012 and 2014 he spent several months in Beirut, Marseille, Paris, Boston, New York, Washington and Los Angeles, studying local Armenian diasporic communities from historical and sociological perspectives. His research explores how local conditions in various countries, the international and transnational developments, as well as the individual leaders, organizations and institutions have shaped and continue shaping Armenian cultures, identities and discourses in the diaspora.
Do diasporas have agency, imagined and conceptualized, to produce collective behavior or are they too vast and heterogeneous to generate any coordinated collective action in unison?
In this first essay for EVN Report, Dr. Vahe Sahakyan of the University of Michigan seeks to address the issue of Armenian diaspora leadership by examining it in theoretical and comparative perspective. He asks, who are the diaspora leaders, and can they have multiple geographical or cultural identities and yet remain ethnically “unmixed?”