LOS ANGELES — Dr. Sebouh D. Aslanian, the Richard Hovannisian Term Chair of Modern Armenian History, established by the Armenian Educational Foundation at UCLA, will speak on Sunday, March 18, at 4:00 p.m., at the Armenian Society of Los Angeles Main Hall, 117 S. Louise Street, Glendale, CA 91205. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be cosponsored by the Armenian Society of Los Angeles, the Armenian Educational Foundation, the Ararat-Eskijian Museum, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR).
Aslanian’s lecture, “From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa,” will draw on his recently-published book of the same name, issued by the University of California Press.
From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean was selected by the Committee of the “California World History Library” as the first book to appear in their new series, “Author’s Imprint,” that celebrates and recognizes “exceptional scholarship by first-time authors.” It received the 2011 Houshang Pourshariati Book Award in Iranian Studies and the PEN literary award for outstanding first book of the year from UC Press.
Drawing on a rich trove of documents, including correspondence not seen for 300 years, Aslanian’s groundbreaking study explores the emergence and growth of a remarkable global trade network operated by Armenian silk merchants from a small outpost in the Persian Empire. Based in New Julfa, Isfahan, in what is now Iran, these merchants operated a network of commercial settlements that stretched from London and Amsterdam to Manila and Acapulco.
Aslanian brings to light the trans-imperial cosmopolitan world of the New Julfans, the effects of long distance trade on the organization of community life, the ethos of trust and cooperation that existed among merchants, and the importance of information networks and communication in the operation of early modern mercantile communities.
Prof. George Bournoutian of Iona College has praised From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean as “the most researched and original work” on the subject that “exceeds, by far, all previous scholarship on the Armenian merchants of New Julfa.”
Aslanian has previously taught in the department of history at CSU-Long Beach as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2010 after serving a year at Cornell University as a Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral fellow in world history. He received his Ph.D. (with distinction) from Columbia University in 2007. Aslanian specializes in early modern world and Armenian history and is the author of numerous articles in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of World History, the Journal of the Social and Economic History of the Orient, the Journal of Global History, and Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies.
From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean will be on sale at the talk and available for signing by the author.
More information about Aslanian’s lecture may be had by contacting the Ararat-Eskijian Museum at 818-838-4862 or [email protected]; the Armenian Educational Foundation at 818-242-4154; the Armenian Society of Los Angeles at 818-241-1073; or NAASR at 617-489-1610 or [email protected]

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