Cal State Fresno releases new Dennis Papazian memoir
FRESNO – The Armenian Series of The Press at California State University, Fresno announces the publication of its fifteenth volume, From My Life and Thought: Reflections on an Armenian-American Journey, a memoir by Dennis R. Papazian, a well-known community leader, professor emeritus of history and founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan at Dearborn.
Writer Michael Bobelian, who provides the volume’s foreword, describes the post-genocide Armenian-American experience of the 20th century as one that saw the transformation of the “widows and orphans” community with “little weight economic or political” into a community capable of coming together in pursuit of higher goals of genocide recognition, political advocacy, academic excellence, and success in business and profession.
“Born in 1931,” writes Bobelian, “Dennis’s life spanned this era, a crucial period in Armenian-American history that has long been overlooked by Armenians who have otherwise devoted immense resources to the preservation of their culture. In fact, other than the late Vartan Gregorian, none of Dennis’ peers produced an account of this period.
According to Bobelian, “These memoirs offer readers a much-needed front row seat in this era of transformation. Dennis’ account of the changes the Armenian-American community has undergone offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the key institutions and personalities of his generation: Alex Manoogian, William Saroyan, and the Catholicos all make appearances in these pages. What makes Dennis so atypical are the different hats he wore. As a scholar, community leader, and spokesperson, Dennis has served the Armenian-American community in many ways: participating in academic organizations, speaking to the press, lobbying politicians, giving speeches, distributing grants, and much more.
In Of My Life and Thought: Reflections on an Armenian-American JourneyDennis Papazian shares his thoughts on a typical 20th century American life shaped by the challenges of the immigrant experience, his family’s struggle to create a life in a new country, and his determined efforts to obtain an education that would ensure a life of security and the promise of the American dream.
Born ninety years ago before World War II, before the civil rights of the American South to Armenian immigrant parents from Istanbul, Turkey, Papazian pursued a doctorate in Russian history, becoming one of the first students Americans to study in the then Soviet Union. at the height of the Cold War. This experience not only opened the world to him, it also placed him at the center of major geopolitical events, teaching him nuances and perspective that would lead him to become a much sought-after analyst as the Soviet Union broke away from the decades later.