AGBU Webtalks


Reimagining Armenian Language Education in the Diaspora

Shushan Karapetian

Dr. Karapetian discusses the importance of repositioning Armenian language education as a source of enrichment and discovery.


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October 2022

Reimagining Armenian Language Education in the Diaspora

Dr. Shushan Karapetian, a linguist and scholar of language education, considers the growing challenges facing Armenian language education in the diaspora, ranging from outdated instructional approaches to unrealistic expectations of heritage language speakers. Dr. Karapetian highlights the ways in which a change in attitudes could help revive our schools and reposition Armenian language and identity as a source of enrichment and discovery.

Dr. Shushan Karapetian is the director of the USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies, which promotes research that examines the social, cultural, educational, and political challenges facing Armenia, Artsakh, and the Armenian communities in the Diaspora. She received a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA in 2014, where she taught Armenian Studies courses for ten years. Her dissertation, “‘How Do I Teach My Kids My Broken Armenian?’: A Study of Eastern Armenian Heritage Language Speakers in Los Angeles,” received the Society for Armenian Studies Distinguished Dissertation Award in 2015. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Russ Campbell Young Scholar Award in recognition of outstanding scholarship in heritage language research. Dr. Karapetian researches, teaches, and writes about the Armenian experience, particularly focusing on competing ideologies at the intersection of language and the construction of transnational identity. She is the host of the popular IG/YouTube Word of the Day series through which she teaches Armenian in a fun and engaging manner. She is also host of the podcast series, Language Therapy with Dr. K, which looks at language, in all kinds of contexts, with an Armenian twist. 

Topics: Education Language Learning Linguistics