Visiting Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows

Helen Makhdoumian is a Promise Armenian Institute Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, where, under the mentorship of Professor Michael Rothberg of the Department of Comparative Literature, she is working on her book manuscript tentatively titled “A Map of This Place: Nested Memory and the Afterlives of Removal.” This project stems from her dissertation, which was supported by several departmental, graduate college, and campus-wide fellowships from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and which won the American Comparative Literature Association’s Charles Bernheimer Award for the best dissertation nominated by a department or program. Broadly, the project reflects her commitment to a global reach for the study of memory work—one that centers histories of dispossession and population management policies carried out for the maintenance of sovereignty. More specifically, “A Map of This Place” takes up a contrapuntal study of contemporary Armenian American, Palestinian American, and American Indian/First Nations novels and memoirs. Working in this way, the project offers “nested memory” as a rubric to articulate the structure of the multigenerational transmission of memory in the face of the recursivity of collective trauma. Nesting also accounts for how memory work unfolds in place and how memories are emplaced.

Prior to coming to UCLA, Makhdoumian was an Alex and Marie Manoogian Postdoctoral Research Fellow through the Center for Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she also completed a minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies as well as certificates through the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive. While at the University of Illinois, she regularly organized events through the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. Those efforts culminated in the establishment of the April 24th Fund for Armenian Studies events, including an upcoming installation in April 2023 at the Spurlock Museum by the Syrian Armenian artist Kevork Mourad.

Her public writing has appeared in venues such as Days and Memory, Kritik, and Grad Life (blogs at Illinois), and her articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies. In lieu of a list of publications, below are links to her recorded public talks and engagements:

  • To Withhold is Not to Forget: On Memories of Removal and the Everyday,” Public Lecture, October 2022 (here)
  • “When the Study of ‘Settler Mnemonics’ Meets the Study of Literature,” Workshop Presentation, February 2022 (here)

  • Respondent and Discussion Moderator for “Dispossession and Its Legacies: Comparisons, Intersections, and Connections” Workshop, February 2022 (here)

  • “Toward a Theorization of Nested Memory,” Public Lecture, January 2022 (here)

  • In Conversation with Kevork Mourad on “Conceptualizing Migration, Memory, and Place Through Art,” April 2021 (here)

  • “These Lands Bear Witness: Activating Armenian Genocide Memories,” Conference Presentation, April 2017 (here)

Contact Helen at