Richard G. Hovannisian

Richard Hovannisian

Hovannisian during the anti-government protests in Yerevan's Freedom Square in March 2013
Born (1932-11-09) November 9, 1932
Tulare, California, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, CA
Nationality American
Fields Armenian, Russian, and Near Eastern history
Institutions UCLA
Alma mater UC Berkeley
Doctoral advisor Raymond H. Fisher
Doctoral students George Bournoutian, Stephen Astourian, Levon Marashlian, Vahram Shemmassian
Known for Republic of Armenia (4 vols.)
Spouse Vartiter Hovannisian (née Kotcholosian)
Richard G. Hovannisian UCLA Homepage

Richard Hovannisian (Armenian: Ռիչարդ Հովհաննիսյան, born November 9, 1932) is an Armenian American historian and professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.



Hovannisian was born and raised in Tulare, California into a family of Armenian Genocide survivors. His father, Gaspar Gavroian, was born in 1901 in the village of Bazmashen (Pazmashen; now Sarıçubuk, Turkey), near Kharpert in the Ottoman Empire.[1] Fleeing the genocide of 1915, he moved to the United States by 1920 and changed his last name from Gavroian to Hovannisian, after his father's name, Hovhannes.[2] In 1926, Kaspar married Siroon (Sarah) Nalbandian, also a child of the genocide survivors.[3] Their two sons were born in 1928 (John) and 1930 (Ralph). Richard Gable Hovannisian (named after Clark Gable) was born last on November 9, 1932.[4]

Hovannisian married Vartiter Kotcholosian in 1957 at the Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Fresno. They had several children, including Raffi, who later went on to become the first Foreign Minister of Armenia and is currently an opposition politician.

Education and career

Hovannisian received his B.A. in history (1954) from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.A. in history (1958) and his Ph.D. (1966) from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[5] He was also an associate professor of history at Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles, from 1966 to 1969, having joined UCLA in 1962. Hovannisian's scholarly work early on was focused on the history of the First Republic of Armenia (1918–20). His Ph.D. dissertation, originally envisioned to encompass its entire history, was published in 1967 as Armenia on the Road to Independence and would serve as a prologue to the four volumes (1971-1996) that he would eventually publish on the history of the republic. These volumes were generally well-received among scholarly circles.

In 1986, Hovannisian was appointed as the first holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA. Hovannisian is a Guggenheim Fellow who has received numerous honors for his scholarship, civic activities, and advancement of Armenian Studies. His biographical entries are included in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World among other scholarly and literary reference works.[6] Hovannisian serves on the board of directors of nine scholarly and civic organizations, including the Facing History and Ourselves Foundation; the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide; International Alert; the Foundation for Research on Armenian Architecture; and the Armenian National Institute (ANI).[7] He received the UCLA Alumni Association's 2010-2011 "Most Inspiring Teacher" award.[8]

Since 2000, Hovannisian has overseen and edited a number of individual studies on the former Armenian-populated towns and cities of the Ottoman Empire.

Selected works

UCLA conference series proceedings

The UCLA conference series titled "Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces" has been organized by Hovannisian, as the Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History. The conference proceedings (edited by Hovannisian) that have so far been published (in Costa Mesa, CA, by Mazda Publishers) are:

  1. Armenian Van/Vaspurakan (2000) OCLC 44774992
  2. Armenian Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush (2001) OCLC 48223061
  3. Armenian Tsopk/Kharpert (2002) OCLC 50478560
  4. Armenian Karin/Erzerum (2003) OCLC 52540130
  5. Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia (2004) OCLC 56414051
  6. Armenian Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa (2006) OCLC 67361643
  7. Armenian Cilicia (2008) OCLC 185095701 (together with Simon Payaslian)
  8. Armenian Pontus: The Trebizond-Black Sea Communities (2009) OCLC 272307784
  9. Armenian Constantinople (2010) (together with Simon Payaslian)
  10. Armenian Kars and Ani (2011)
  11. Armenian Smyrna/Izmir (2012)
  12. Armenian Kesaria/Kayseri and Cappadocia (2013)
  13. Armenian Communities of Asia Minor (2014)



  1. Hovannisian 2010, p. 3.
  2. Hovannisian 2010, pp. 36-38.
  3. Hovannisian 2010, pp. 40-43.
  4. Hovannisian 2010, p. 45.
  5. Hovannisian, Richard G. "Confronting the Genocide," in Pioneers of Genocide Studies, eds. Samuel Totten and Steven Leonard Jacobs. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002, p. 31.
  6. "Faculty". The Armenian Educational Foundation. UCLA. Retrieved 2008-01-29..
  7. Biography
  8. Professor Richard Hovannisian to be Honored as Most Distinguished Teacher. Asbarez. April 8, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2016.


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