Deanna Cachoian-Schanz

I am a feminist scholar, part-time literary translator, freelance editor, and project consultant for exhibitions, creative projects, and academic works.

İstanbul | Venezia | New York

Դիաննա Խաչոյեան-Շանց

Իգապաշտ (feminist) շարժումի գրականութեան տեսութեան մասնագէտ եմ, գրական գործերու մասնակի թարգմանչուհի, ցուցահանդէսներու, սենարիօներու եւ ակադեմական գործերու անկախ խմբագրողուհի եւ ծրագրային խորհրդատու։

Sono un’accademica femminista, una traduttrice letteraria part time, un revisore, una consulente per l’organizzazione di mostre d’arte, copioni e testi accademici.


I am a feminist scholar, part-time literary translator, and avid postcard writer. Originally from New York, I began my academic career studying literature and creative nonfiction at Sarah Lawrence College. Since then, I have called Armenia, Italy, and Turkey home. Currently, I’m pursuing my PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve worked previously as an ESL instructor (K–12) in Armenia, a university lecturer of English language and literature in Turkey, and still continue my work as a freelance editor and project consultant for exhibitions, screenplays, creative projects, and academic works.

In 2010 I moved to the Venetian lagoon to pursue a Laurea Magistrale (Master of Arts) in Asia meridionale e occidentalelingueculture e istituzioni (Southwestern Asia: Languages, Cultures & Institutions) & Armenian Studies at the Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italy. There, I specialized in the history of the Ottoman Empire and the South Caucasus, and Translation Studies. My years in Venice culminated in my first translation monograph—Shushan Avagyan’s 2006 novel Գիրք-անվերնագիր (A Book, Untitled) from Eastern Armenian to English—in partial fulfillment of my MA in 2014.

I first lived in Istanbul between 2013 and 2016, where I pursued another MA degree in Cultural Studies at Sabancı University. Becoming more immersed in the lesbifem/queer community of Istanbul while also being academically steeped in critical, feminist, and marxist theory at university, I wrote my Master’s thesis in Turkey on a topic closer to my New York home. It is called “(Dis)orienting exile: Home and Belonging in Queer Armenian-American Women’s Memoir.” Based primarily on close textual analysis of the first two published memoirs by queer women in the Armenian transnation, I examine the various articulations of exile in Arlene Avakian’s Lion Woman’s Legacy (1992) and Nancy Agabian’s Me As Her Again (2008), and argue that these queer diasporic memoirs resist the reproduction of nationalist monoliths and open alternative modes of existence beyond the nation-frame.

In 2017 I moved to Philadelphia to begin my doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania. There, I’m a graduate affiliate of the Middle East Center, and the Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies Certificate Program. My current research, tentatively titled “Cartographies of Belonging,” focuses on coalitions and contestations among dissident and ethnoracial minority subjects in the Armenian and Turkish geographies that critique and deterritorialize identity and border formations through activism and various genres of cultural production. Framing such multi-genre productions as “counter-archives,” I seek to imagine and construct a canon of alternative archives that challenge reproductive, normative representations of (ethnoracial/sexual) belongings, kinships, and lands beyond neo-liberal and hyper-individualized frames. Working in the region of Armenia, Turkey and their diasporas, my work sits at the intersection of critical theory, postcolonialism, feminist and queer theory, critical race studies, and theories of the nation, translation, and the archive. 

My articles and translations have appeared in Words Without BordersAsymptote, The Armenian Weekly, the Journal for the Society of Armenian Studies, The Armenian Review, Armenia: Imprints of a Civilization, Critical Approaches to Armenian Identity in the 21st Century: Fragility, Resilience and Transformation (in Turkish translation), Approaches to Genocide: History, Politics and Aesthetics of 1915 (forthcoming 2023, Routledge), ASAP/Journal: Special Issue on Autotheory, and Social Text. In 2019, I co-founded the Critical Armenian Studies Collective.

In addition to my theoretical work, I am co-writing a book and exhibition project with an Istanbul-based architect on the legacies of shared family trauma and redactive methods of archiving, seeking to unfix the hegemonic, patriarchal architectures of histories and geographies in their current nationalized frames.

Need an editor, translator, or project writer?

Photo at a SALT Beyoğlu exhibition featuring the work of Hera Büyüktaşcıyan

Freelance Services


Translation of literary and scientific works from both modern Italian and Armenian (Eastern & Western). Experienced, culturally-immersed, and sensitive to how you want your text to sound in English.


Proofreading, copy editing and content editing of prose and academic texts in English. From writing web content to an abstract, academic article to a dissertation, I’m here to help with a personalized approach, fair prices and caring work on your hard-written text. Years of experience with proposals, theses and dissertation editing.

Project Consultant & Concept Writer

Do you need someone with a theoretical background to help you parse out your thoughts for a project, give you historical background that adds depth to your work, or need a hand writing project proposals or concepts for an exhibition, a screenplay, a grant, or other creative or academic project? Sometimes it helps to have a book-worm familiar with academic writing to help you develop and bring out the best of your ideas in writing!