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Distinguished professor to explore families, societies left behind by migrants

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

LAWRENCE — Victor Agadjanian, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas, will deliver his Distinguished Professor Inaugural Lecture, “Those Whom Migrants Leave Behind: Why Should We Care?” at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Bruckmiller Room of the Adams Alumni Center.

“The public debate about migration in the U.S. and other migrant-receiving countries typically focuses almost entirely on migrants themselves and challenges of their integration into the host society,” Agadjanian said. “But most migrants leave behind relatives and friends whose livelihoods are intricately linked to migrants’ experiences. In this talk, I draw from years of my research in different parts of the world to show how migration transforms life in sending communities. I also reflect on how the enduring ties with places of origin affect migrants’ lives in places of migration destination.” 

Agadjanian is one of KU’s Foundation Distinguished Professors hired between January 2014 and July 2016.  The Foundation Distinguished Professor initiative is a unique partnership between the university and the state of Kansas that attracted a dozen eminent scholars who support one or more of the university’s four strategic initiative themes.

Agadjanian joined the Department of Sociology in fall 2015. Together with Foundation Distinguished Professor Cecilia Menjívar, he founded the KU Center for Migration Research in spring 2016. He and Menjívar currently co-direct that center.

His research has examined a wide range of themes, from determinants and consequences of international migration, to sexual and reproductive health and behavior, to marriage and family dynamics, to gender inequalities and women’s leadership, to ethnic differences in family formation and dissolution and in childbearing. His research has focused on international settings, primarily sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet Union (Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus), but also South and Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Most of his research is based on quantitative and qualitative data from original projects he has designed and directed. Agadjanian often combines advanced statistical analyses with in-depth qualitative inquiry. His collaborators come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and regions of the world. Agadjanian has published extensively in several languages in leading international scholarly outlets.

Agadjanian’s pioneering international research has been funded by grants from various agencies, most notably the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Significant projects have included a study of the consequences of international labor migration for HIV risks and prevention among non-migrating household members and the role of religious organizations in mitigating the effect of HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent research work has centered on sexual and reproductive risks of Central Asian migrant women in Russia and a project that examines gender equality and women’s empowerment in Armenia.

Agadjanian was born in Moscow, the former U.S.S.R., and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Lomonosov Moscow State University. He received his master’s degree in sociology and applied demography and doctorate in sociology from the University of Southern California. From 1996-2015, before joining KU, Agadjanian was a professor of sociology at Arizona State University, where he founded and directed the Center for Population Dynamics (2005-2012). In recognition of the global impact of his scholarship, he was named Ellen Elizabeth Guillot International Distinguished Professor in 2008.

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