Universiteit Leiden

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Tsolin Nalbantian

Associate professor

Dr. T. Nalbantian
+31 71 527 2985

Tsolin Nalbantian is an Associate Professor at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Tsolin Nalbantian


I am a historian of the Modern Middle East. My research and teaching interests include Middle East diasporas, minorities in the Middle East, the modern political and social histories of Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, the Caucasus; and Armenian communities of the Middle East. It also furthers ethnographic and migration studies. I am particularly interested in engaging with Turkish and Lebanese History and Armenian Studies, which I contend have not examined multilateral transnational connections and/or have ignored them in favor of national historiographies and periodizations.

My book Armenians Beyond Diaspora: Making Lebanon Their Own (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) is a post-Genocide Armenian history of – principally – power, renewal and presence, rather than one of loss and absence. Practicing Sectarianism Archival and Ethnographic Interventions on Lebanon, my co-edited volume with Lara Deeb and Nadya Sbaiti (Stanford University Press, 2022), brings together historians and anthropologists who see sectarianism as contingent and constructed, and argues that sectarianism can only be understood if we take it seriously as an imaginative and contradictory practice. Currently, I am co-editing the volume The Armenian Diaspora and Stateless Power: Collective Identity in the Transnational 20th Century (IB Tauris/Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2023) with Talar Chahinian and Sossie Kasbarian. It is an exciting contribution to the study of not only the modern Armenian diaspora but also to the field of Diaspora Studies.

In 2021 I was awarded a Comenius Teaching Fellow Grant and a Leiden Teaching Academy fellowship. Together, they help further my dedication to teaching and engaging with the public and non-academics. Both projects integrate Wikipedia, the world’s premier open-access encyclopedia, into the training of Leiden University BA and (Res)MA students interested in the Middle East, and link university education with society.

Teaching and Research Interests

Middle East diasporas, minorities in the Middle East, the modern political and social histories of Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, the Caucasus; and Armenian communities of the Middle East

Key Publications

Monographs and edited volumes

  • Volume co-editor, Practicing Sectarianism: Ethnographic and Archival Interventions on Lebanon, together Lara Deeb and Nadya Sbaiti (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2022).
  • Volume co-editor, Diaspora and ‘Stateless Power’: The Armenian Experience through the Transnational 20th Century, together with Talar Chahinian and Sossie Kasbarian (New York: I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2023).
  • Armenians Beyond Diaspora: How They Made Lebanon Their Own (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Chapters

  • “A ‘Little Armenia’ in the Caribbean”: The Armenian Heritage Cruise as a Simulacrum,” accepted in Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 22, no.2 (forthcoming, Fall 2022).
  • “Practicing Sectarianism in Lebanon and Beyond,” Introduction co-written with Lara Deeb and Nadya Sbaiti. In Practicing Sectarianism: Ethnographic and Archival Interventions on Lebanon, edited by Lara Deeb, Tsolin Nalbantian, and Nadya Sbaiti, 1-13. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2022.
  • “From Murder in New York to Salvation from Beirut: Armenian Intra-Sectarianism.” In Practicing Sectarianism: Ethnographic and Archival Interventions on Lebanon, edited by Lara Deeb, Tsolin Nalbantian, and Nadya Sbaiti, 116-137. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2022.
  • “Armenians in Lebanon: Becoming Local in the Levant,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 50, no.4 (2018): 773–77.
  • “Armenians in the Middle East,” in Routledge Handbook of Minorities in the Middle East, Routledge, London (2018), pp. 272-286.
  • “Articulating Power through the Parochial” Mashriq & Mahjar 1, no.2 (2013): 41-72.
  • “Going Beyond Overlooked Populations in Lebanese Historiography: The Armenian Case,” History Compass 11, 10 (2013): 821-832.

Other articles and commentaries

  • “On Recognition,” accepted in International Journal of Middle East Studies 56, no.3 (forthcoming 2022).
  • “Telegrams,” accepted in Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 28:2 (forthcoming 2022).
  • “Entertainment and Consumption: The Impending Destruction of the Armenian Memorial Trchnotz Puyn,” Jadaliyya e-zine (21 June 2016)
  • https://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/33106/Entertainment-and-Consumption-The-Impending-Destruction-of-the-Armenian-Memorial-Trchnotz-Puyn
  • “Breaking House Rules: Hoodies, Hijabs, and Belonging in the Netherlands,” Jadaliyya e-zine (17 May 2015)
  • https://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/21647/breaking-house-rules_hoodies-hijabs-and-belonging-
  • “Housing Archives: When Buildings Become Part of the Record” Ibraaz, Critical Forum on Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa (November 2013)
  •  https://www.ibraaz.org/essays/82


  • Dove in Free Flight a collection of poetry by Faraj Bayraqdar, translator from Arabic to English as part of the New York Translation Collective (Brooklyn: UpSet Press, 2021 and University of Arkansas Press, 2021).

Courses taught:

  • Theories and Methods of Middle East and Islamic Studies (MA Seminar)·  
  • Power and Resistance in the Modern Middle East (MA Seminar)
  • History of the Modern Middle East: Transformations and Challenges (BA 1 Lecture)
  • Diasporas and Minorities in the Middle East (BA 3 Seminar)
  • History: Middle East (BAIS 1 Lecture)


  • PhD in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University (2011)
  • MA in Near Eastern Studies, New York University (2003)


  • Lecturer in Middle East History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2010-2011)
  • Arabic Instructor, Columbia University (2004-2006)

Grants and awards

  • Aspasia Grant, NWO
  • Leiden Teachers’ Academy Fellow: “Making Education ‘Public’: How to Transfer Research and Academic Skills to the Digital Domain”
  • Comenius Teaching Fellow NRO Grant: “Bridging the Gap Between Classroom and Society: Using Wikipedia to Make Students Public Actors”
  • Leiden University Global Interactions Seed Grant, together with Irial Glynn (Leiden University)
  • NWO VENI Grant: "Connecting Citizens: The Fused Identities of Nusaybin, Turkey and Qamishle, Syria”
  • Marie Curie (CIG) Grant, European Commission: “Centering the Margins”

  • Zohrab Faculty Fellowship, Columbia University

  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Summer Fellowship, Columbia University
  • Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, Wenner-Gren Foundation
  • FLAS Dissertation Fellowship in Arabic, Columbia University
  • Fulbright-Hays Fellowship (Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad), US Department of Education
  • FLAS Fellowship in Arabic, New York University
  • Graduate Student Fellowship, New York University
  • Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), Cairo, Egypt



Associate professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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