History Department
History Department

Vasken Markarian

BA in History and Spanish (Honors), CUNY Queens College; MA in History, University of Texas at Austin,


Research Interests: Indigenous History, Cold War, Human Rights, Social Revolutions; violence against neighbors, state violence, genocide; trauma and memory studies.


I am a seventh year doctorate student at the University of Texas at Austin. I am completing my dissertation in the field of Modern Latin American History. My work centers on violence against neighbors, mass atrocities, and the motivations of perpetrators. I utilize oral histories and testimonies to approach a cultural history of violence.

My current research focuses on the Guatemalan internal armed conflict of the 1980s. I examine how the Guatemalan military forcibly recruited indigenous civilians in a war against “subversives” as part of the larger global Cold War. Yet this militarization of society produced a phenomenon of violence against neighbors, and ultimately a genocide against Guatemala’s Maya population. My work utilizes oral histories, testimonies, and archival sources to address the local and cultural context of violence, highlighting the agency of both victims and perpetrators to shape their circumstances in likely and unlikely ways.

I grew up in Queens, New York, where I absorbed the richness of the culturally diverse communities around me. I graduated with a BA in History and Spanish at CUNY Queens College. In 2019, I completed a year of historical research and fieldwork in Guatemala as a Fulbright U.S. Student Research Fellow. At UT, I have experience as a Teaching Assistant, Supplemental Instructor, and I am currently an Assistant Instructor. Other UT-related achievements include volunteer work in digital archives projects at the Benson Latin American Collection, the Museum Studies Portfolio, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Professional Qualifications Standards.


J S 307 • Intro Holocaust/Genocd Studies

39977 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GSB 2.126

Genocidal events and violence belong to the catalogue of human behavior across time and space.
This course introduces students to the field of Holocaust and genocide studies. It aims to provide
students with interdisciplinary perspectives (including historical, political, socio-psychological
and cultural methods and insights) on genocide as a global phenomenon.