Deadline: 15 October, 2012
Open to: Everyone interested in the topic
Venue: Tbilisi, Georgia (6-8 June 2013)
The Caucasus at the Imperial Twilight
Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Nation-Building, from 1870s to 1920s
Organizers: The University of Utah (USA), Tbilisi State University (Georgia)
Co-Sponsors: Istanbul Technical University, Yildiz Technical University (Turkey)
The Turkish Studies Project at the University of Utah is organizing a two-day long conference to examine the formation and evolution of ethnic and national identities in the Caucasus, to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in June 2013. With its thematic emphasis on transregional connections and interstate competition after the turn of the century, this conference considers the formation of modern realities in the Caucasus as inherently tied to the collapse of three imperial orders, the Ottoman Empire, Tsarist Russia, and Qajar Iran. Accordingly, preference will be given to papers that situate the broader intellectual, political and socio-economic currents in each imperial space within the proper Caucasian context. The conference will focus on the following set of questions: What were the social and political origins of nation-building in the Caucasus? How did the conflict between three empires shape the social and political formations in the Caucasus? What are the legacies of these three empires? What were the long-term consequences of World War I? Did the war set the pattern of ethnic and/or religious cleansing in the region? How should one approach the study of nation and state-building?
This conference is part of the conference series initiated by the Turkish Studies Project at the University of Utah. The first conference, with a thematic focus on the Berlin Treaty of 1878, was held successfully in early April 2010, and an edited volume was published in 2011. The second conference on the origins and consequences of the Balkan Wars, expected to be published in late 2012, is under editorial process. The third conference, which examined the social and political implications of World War I, was held in Sarajevo in May 2012, and the papers selected after the due peer-review process will be published in late 2013. Fourth in the conference series, the Tbilisi meeting will provide a stimulating venue for senior and junior scholars to present the most recent and cutting-edge research on the themes of the conference. The papers presented and discussed in Tbilisi will be compiled in an edited volume after a strict peer-review process.
Themes of the conference
The major themes of the conference are as follows: Imperial Collapse, Russian Orientalism, Center-periphery interactions, State and Nation-Building, Nationalism, Ethnicity and Religion, Popular Memory and Politics of Memory Human Agency vs. Structure,
Caucasus as the Borderland and Interstate and Intercommunal Rivalries.
Thematically, the panels will focus on the following four areas:
1. Arguments and Historical Methods: What are the main narratives of national historiographies of the Caucasian people? What are the main issues and questions in the historiography of the new nation-states in the Caucasus? What types of questions are raised? What is the hegemonic methodology and discourse in these works? Which methods have been effective and ineffective in studying the processes of nation and state-building?
2. Memory in Literature, Art and Music: How do national historiographies construe literature, art and music to portray these nations? How do Turkish, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian societies try to preserve and construct the memories of major wars and external interventions? What is remembered and what is forgotten, and how does selective memory come to dominate? What are the norms for describing brutality, suffering and victimization? How does each nation construct itself as a victim of external forces? What are the main themes in these national memoirs? What are the drawbacks and benefits of such memories?
3. Social and Diplomatic History: What are the connections between diplomatic and social history in theorizing about the violent nature of ethnic or religious conflicts? How did imperial rivalries clash with local power struggle? How did local power struggle bring external interventions?
What were the major social and economic factors in the formation and evolution of nations in the region? How did these ethnic and cultural groups evolve into nation?
4. Trauma and Imprints on Caucasus States: What were the short and long-term effects of the wars on the identity formations? What was the impact of the imperial rivalries on the decision of the nationalist elite during and after World War One? What were the effects of World War I on the emergence of modern nations in the Caucasus?
The organizers will provide accommodation and meals for the duration of the conference but the organizers would be grateful if you first contact your own institution to cover the expenses of travel to and from Tbilisi, Georgia. Participants should arrive at Tbilisi airport by 6 pm on the evening of Thursday June 6. The conference will begin on the morning of June 7 (Friday), and end in the late afternoon of June.
The organizers wish to receive the title of your paper and a 300-500 word abstract by October 15, 2012, and a first draft by March 15, 2013. The planned edited volume that will feature the papers presented in this conference is set for publication in the course of the year 2014.
M. Hakan Yavuz , University of Utah firstname.lastname@example.org
Umut Uzer, Istanbul Technical University email@example.com
Alexander Kvitashvili, President of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University firstname.lastname@example.org