History Department
History Department

Vasken Markarian


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

Interests


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

Biography


I am a sixth 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 civilians, 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 my research in Guatemala as a Fulbright U.S. Student Research Fellow. I currently work as a Teaching Assistant and Supplemental Instructor assisting larger history surveys courses. I have also volunteered as an assistant in digital archives projects at the Benson Latin American Collection at UT.