Julian Chehirian

Department of History, Program in the History of Science

Julian Chehirian is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University in the Program for the History of Science and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities.


His dissertation project examines spaces of visual production that have functioned as sites of knowledge making and research. Moving through adjoined episodes in the history of science and art in the post-WWII period, it traces epistemic aspirations across disparate sites of experimentation ranging from the clinical to the museal. The first chapter traces the emergence of art-making as a form of psychological therapy across the 20th century, studying the enmeshment of psycho-scientific and artistic practices in experiments that have used artistic expression as an inlet into the psyche.


Chehirian was previously a Fulbright Researcher in Bulgaria, where he studied the history of psychotherapy and psychiatry in the state-socialist period.  His scholarly publications appear in the journal Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, and in Technologies of Mind and Body in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc (edited by Anna Toropova and Claire Shaw. London: Bloоmsbury, Forthcoming).


As an artist-researcher, Chehirian also stages exhibitions to convey scholarship to broad audiences—hybridizing archival, ethnographic, artistic and curatorial methodologies. In The Neighbours (2022), a set of installations evoking everyday living spaces and objects operate as transducers for the legacy of state sanctioned violence in Bulgaria. Probing relationships between sound, memory, trauma and domestic spaces, the exhibition reckons with the consequences of silenced trauma. A collaboration with Lilia Topouzova (Assistant Professor, University of Toronto) and Krasimira Butseva (Associate Lecturer, University of the Arts London), the project has received support from the Princeton University Humanities Council, the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities at Princeton, the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton, and The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Person Category
PhD Students