Armenian Women

in search of Herstory

Archive for the category “educator”

Arlene Avakian – Արլին Ոսկի Ավագյան


Feminist Scholar, Women’s Studies Director

She helped found the University of Massachusetts Women’s Studies Program and what is now known as the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.  Avakian is the author of Lion Woman’s Legacy: An Armenian American Memoir (1992); editor of Through the Kitchen Window: Women Writers Explore the Intimate Meanings of Food and Cooking (1997); and co-editor of African American Women and the Vote 1837-1965 (1997), in addition to numerous articles. She taught courses on autobiography, activism, and the social construction of whiteness and women. She is also a political activist both on an off campus, working for social justice. She retired recently after 35 years of teaching and directing the Program.


To read her recent work, From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies you can go here.

You can also access here , some of her online papers and articles.

Zabel Asadour – Զաբել Ասատուր


Feminist activist, poet, writer, educator and philanthropist

Zabel Khanjian, later Zabel Asadour, was born on July 23, 1863 in Scutari, a suburb of Constantinople, and educated in local French and Armenian schools. In 1879 when she was 16 years old, she joined with eight school friends to form the National Armenian Women’s Union which helped to establish girls’ schools and orphanages in the Armenian provinces. She became a well-known teacher and proponent of education, publishing with her husband, Hrand Asadour, a series of highly acclaimed Armenian language and literature textbooks. She also wrote journalism, fiction, and poetry under various pen-names including “Sybil,” “Anahit,” and “Miss Alice.” Her publications included novels such as True Feminism and A Girl’s Heart; a short story collection, Women’s Souls; and a volume of poetry, Reflections. The composition dates of her plays are uncertain. She died on June 19, 1934. Four years later, Hairenik Press in Boston published the Armenian version of her play The Bride, a lively comedy about a bride from the country who moves into her husband’s comfortable home in the big city but refuses to accept the traditional posture of submission to her mother-in-law’s authority.


“Her prose concentrated on love, marriage and the difficulties women faced while entering the public sphere”,- Victoria Rowe

“…the literary career and social activities of Sibyl  combined writing with activism aimed at improving the schooling of Armenian women”,- V.Rowe

You can read the english translation of her play, The Bride  here.


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