A head shot of Jennifer Manoukian

Jennifer Manoukian, UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History (Center for Armenian Studies)

Raised outside the Armenian community in New Jersey, Jennifer Manoukian’s curiosity about Armenian language and history was nurtured during her undergraduate years. Her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles, “In Search of Purity: Language, Ideology and Global Intellectual Movements in Ottoman Armenian History, 1750-1915,” examined the emergence of Western Armenian as the dominant written language among Ottoman Armenians.

By researching historical sociolinguistics, language planning and nationalism studies, Manoukian’s work challenges prevailing notions of "proper" language use by exploring the role of purism in shaping Western Armenian. Utilizing Armenian-language primary sources newly accessible through digitization, her research fills significant gaps in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ottoman Armenian history. In her role as a UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Manoukian continues her research into the spread of Western Armenian in the post-Ottoman diaspora (1915-1965), further exploring Armenian language history's impact on identity and cultural preservation.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with the UCI Center for Armenian Studies, especially its director (and my postdoc mentor) Dr. Houri Berberian and the UCI Western Armenian lecturer and specialist in diaspora studies Dr. Talar Chahinian,” says Manoukian.

Before graduate school, Manoukian worked as a literary translator from Western Armenian to English. Since then, she is still always on the lookout for exciting new texts to bring to English-language readers.