Varak Ketsemanian is a Lebanese-Armenian who was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Ketsemanian attended the American University of Beirut, and graduated in 2013 with a BA in philosophy and minor in history. After interning at the Armenian Weekly offices in Boston, MA and spending a year of doing freelance research and translation, Ketsemanian enrolled at the University of Chicago in the MA program at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (2014-2016). His MA thesis titled “Communities in Conflict: the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party 1890-1894” examines the socio-economic role of violence in shaping inter-communal and ethnic relations by doing a local history of the Armenian Revolutionary Movement in the Ottoman Empire. Ketsemanian’s work tackles problems such as the development and polarization of mainstream historiographies, inter-communal stratifications, nationalism, and the relationship of the Ottoman State with some of its Anatolian provinces. For his PhD dissertation, Ketsemanian plans on writing the social history of the National Constitution of Ottoman Armenians in 1863, and the communal dynamics/mechanisms that it created on imperial, communal, and provincial levels. Ketsemanian’s research relates to the development of different forms of nationalism in the 19th and 20th centuries, revolutionary violence, and constitutional movements.
Ketsemanian has conducted research and has been involved in various projects in Turkey, USA, Lebanon and Armenia. He is the recipient of several awards and fellowships such as Fulbright, FLAS, and the Gulbenkian Scholarship for Armenian Studies among others. He is a frequent contributor to Aztag Daily, Asbarez and Armenian Weekly. His articles and essays have also appeared in New Eastern Politics and Caucasus Research and Resource Center blogs.