An ethnic Armenian, Panossian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and raised in Canada in a family "engaged with [Armenian] community affairs." He is fluent in English, French, and Armenian. He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2002. His thesis was titled "The evolution of multilocal national identity and the contemporary politics of nationalism: Armenia and its diaspora."
He was director of policy at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development and has served as an international consultant, including at the United Nations Development Programme. He has lectured at the LSE and at the SOAS, University of London. Panossian, currently based in Portugal, has been the director of the department of Armenian communities for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation since 2013.
Panossian is the author of The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars (ISBN 9780231139267), published by the Columbia University Press in 2006. The book was widely acclaimed for its extensive and balanced coverage of Armenian history and national identity. James R. Russell praised the book in his review as the "most meticulously researched and scholarly study of the development of Armenian national identity ever written in any language; and it is also the best general study of the Armenians I have read." Levon Chorbajian wrote that despite his slight objection, the book is "a remarkably balanced, empirically sound, and theoretically engaging one." William Safran wrote of the book: "a first-rate piece of scholarship. It is exhaustively documented; its footnote references alone are accompanied by details that greatly amplify and complement the text, and the provision of population statistics and other hard data is balanced by numerous poetic evocations of Armenian feelings. The book may well serve as a model for the study of other diaspora nations."
- Panossian, Razmik (1998). "Between ambivalence and intrusion: Politics and identity in Armenia-diaspora relations". Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies. 7 (2): 149–196. doi:10.1353/dsp.1998.0011.
- Panossian, Razmik (2001). "The Irony of Nagorno-Karabakh: Formal Institutions versus Informal Politics". Regional & Federal Studies. 11 (3): 143–164. doi:10.1080/714004708.
- Panossian, Razmik (2002). "The Past as Nation: Three Dimensions of Armenian Identity". Geopolitics. 7: 127. doi:10.1080/714000931.
- "Panossian, Razmik, 1964-". York University Libraries. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- Panossian, Razmik (2006). The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars. New York: Columbia University Press. p. xiv. ISBN 9780231139267.
- "Gulbenkian Foundation Appoints Panossian Armenian Communities Director". Asbarez. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Barsoumian, Nanore (13 June 2014). "A Bold New Plan: Interview with Razmik Panossian". Armenian Weekly. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- Panossian, Razmik (2002). "The evolution of multilocal national identity and the contemporary politics of nationalism : Armenia and its diaspora". British Library Board. Archived from the original on 2017-10-26.
- "Razmik Panossian Director Armenian Communities Dept". Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Legvold, Robert (2006). "The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars". Foreign Affairs. 85 (6): 174. JSTOR 20032187.
- Russell, James R. (December 2007). "Review: The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars by Razmik Panossian". The American Historical Review. 112 (5): 1654–1656. JSTOR 40007282.
- Chorbajian, Levon (Winter 2007). "Review: The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars by Razmik Panossian". Slavic Review. 66 (4): 750+751. JSTOR 20060403.
- Safran, William (2007). "A Review of: "Razmik Panossian, The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars"". Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. 13 (3): 493–496. doi:10.1080/13537110701451728.