Helen Makhdoumian

PhD Candidate in English, IPRH Fellow

Additional Campus Affiliations


Helen Makhdoumian is a PhD candidate in English and is working on graduate certificates through The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies (HGMS) and The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. From 2015-18, she co-organized The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies, an interdisciplinary graduate student and faculty member reading group on campus.

In addition to teaching literature and composition courses as a graduate student instructor (see "Courses" below), Helen has previously been appointed as a Digital Literacies Coordinator, Peer Mentor for New Instructors, and an Assistant Director of the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program. She has also held positions at the Writers Workshop, both as an Assistant Director and as a consultant. She continues to volunteer as a consultant in the writing center.

Helen is a 2019-2020 Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) graduate student fellow.

Research Interests

  • Memory, Trauma, and Genocide Studies; Diaspora, Transnational, and Migration Studies; Indigenous and Settler Colonial Studies; Gender and Women's Studies; Armenian Literature (English, Armenian, French); Anglophone Arab Literature; American Indian/First Nations Literature


  • M.A., English, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • B.A., English major and Art minor, Westminster College


  • ENGL 250: Nineteenth-Century American Fiction (Themed: "Transnational and Hemispheric Connections")
  • ENGL 207: Romantic Literature and Culture (Themed: "(Inter)national Contact Zones")
  • ENGL 109: Introduction to Fiction, Advanced Composition (Themed: "Hauntings of Empires" and "Migration and Home")
  • ENGL 101: Introduction to Poetry (Themed: "Memories, Witnesses, and Diasporas")
  • RHET 105: Writing and Research (Themed: "Cultural and Technology Studies" and "Globalization")

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Towards a Postmemory and Multidirectional Memory Nexus: Traumatic Memories, Exile, and Home in Patricia Sarrafian Ward’s The Bullet Collection Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 26 2017, p. 62-81.
Rewriting Billie and Asserting Rhetorical Sovereignty in Linda Hogan’s Power Studies in American Indian Literatures 28 4 2016, p. 80-110.
Armenian Coffee Houses, Cultural Knowledge, and Community: David Kherdian’s Homage to Adana Westminster McNair Journal 5 2013, p. 1-22.

Website Articles

Helen Makhdoumian on Peter Balakian’s Visit The Program in Jewish Culture and Society 2016.