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Arlene Avakian

Arlene AvakianArlene Avakian was one of the founders of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Department at UMass where she was Professor and served as the department chair until her retirement in 2011. Her work focuses on the intersection of gender, race, class, and sexuality.  She is the author of: Lion Woman’s Legacy:  An Armenian American Memoir and two edited books on Gender and Food:  Through the Kitchen Window: Women Writers on Food and Cooking and From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies: Critical Perspectives on Women and Food as well as numerous papers and presentations. She was a closet cook during the early women’s liberation movement, but is now an out and proud lover of cooking and eating.

A descendant of survivors and victims of the 1915 genocide of Armenians perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, Avakian is very excited about her current book project undertaken with two Turkish colleagues called “Mirroring Lives Across the Armenian Turkish Divide:  Conversations about Race, Gender, and Genocide.”  They hope to publish the book in both Turkish and English. 

Avakian has been involved in progressive social activism for all of her adult life – which is a long time.  She happily joined the Board of ECT in 2018.