Conférence "Identities on the Move: The Caucasus Between the Local, the Regional, and the Global.With a Focus on Azerbaijan"

Most of the time, the countries of the South Caucasus are being scrutinized from Moscow, Istanbul, and Tehran, the capital cities of the former empires that ruled the region for centuries and struggled for control over these territories. And indeed, be it the Russian, and then the Soviet empires, or the Persian and Ottoman empires, the Caucasus has been, and still is, very much affected by the influence of regional powers in a wide range of areas. As far as identity issues in the Caucasus are concerned, they tend to be studied mainly through post-Soviet lenses due to the influence of the Soviet nationalities policy. Although this inheritance still appears relevant today, the conference aims to put the emphasis on the complex set of processes that shape identities in a broad meaning. We do therefore not intend to sweep away the past, but rather to better focus on local dynamics within the Caucasus in relation to more global processes, without neglecting regional aspects. Contemporary societies are characterized by the increasing number of groups (real or symbolic) individuals feel to be part of. At the same time, group boundaries are getting increasingly blurred and evolve over time while confronting otherness. The Northern (also concerned by the conference although it is part of the Russian Federation) and the Southern Caucasus are no exceptions. The conference will therefore adopt a multi-scale approach since the notion of identity may be expressed at different levels (individuals, groups, societies, states), and will focus on a wide range of topics: gender, migrations, ethnic relations, diasporas, etc.

Program and information:  Download the program here (PDF)

Qafqaz University, Baku, May 15-16, 2015

Venue: Khirdalan, Hasan Aliyev street, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences (IBF), room 310

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Center for Security and Energy Research at Qafqaz University - Baku
Institut français d'études anatoliennes (IFEA)/Observatoire du Caucase - Baku
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS)

Organizational committee

Aliagha Mammadli
Ceyhun Mahmudlu
Adeline Braux

With the support of

Qafqaz University
Institut français d'études anatoliennes
Academic Swiss Caucasus Net
Ambassade de France en Azerbaïdjan/Campus France

Under the presidence of

Ms Anne de Tinguy, Full Professor at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO-Paris)
Mr Aliagha Mammadli, Head of the Department of Ethnosociological Research at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of ANAS


May 15

9.30: Get together and welcome addresses


Chair: Anne de Tinguy

Migration and Diaspora Issues

Chen Bram, Truman Institute for the Advancement of  Peace, The Hebrew University - Jerusalem

Diaspora and Transnationalism Revisited: The case of Azerbaijani and Georgian Jews

Adeline Braux, IFEA, Caucasus branch - Baku

Lifestyle and 'Styled Life': How Youngsters of South-Caucasian Descent in Russia Get Transnational

Maroussia Ferry, EHESS - Paris.

Changing Social Identities: The Case of Georgian Circulatory and Return Migrants 

Teona Mataradze, Martin-Luther University - Halle-Wittenburg; Assistant Professor, Faculty of humanities, Tbilisi State University   

'Friendship of People" During Political Crises


                                                       12.30-13.30: Lunch break


Chair: Sofie Bedford


Social and Identity Changes in Azerbaijan


Nicolas Crosnier, INALCO - Paris

Urban Renewal of Baku. Representations and Clashes in Society About the New Face of Baku

Raphaëlle Mathey, EHESS

Social and Identity Changes in Azerbaijan in the Last Decades Through the Prism of the Evolution of Funeral Rituals


15.00-15.30: coffee break


Chair: Clément Therme

Minority Issues and Intergroup Relations

Ketevan Khutsishvili, Institute of History and Ethnology, Tbilisi State University

Moslem-Christian Interrelations: The Case of Shared Sacred Sites in Kvemo Kartli Region (Georgia)

Karli Storm, University of Eastern Finland

Analyzing Manifestations of and Responses to Ethno-national Identity in a Border Region: Individual and Group Encounters with Ethno-national Identity in Kvemo Kartli 

Kutbettin Kiliç, Indiana University-Bloomington

Ethnicity, Ethnic Identity and Ethnic Political Behavior: A Conceptual Typology 


19.00: Dinner (for participants to the conference only)


May 16



Chair: Kutbettin Kiliç

Identity and Nation-building in Azerbaijan


Sofie Bedford, Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University

Turkey and Azerbaijan: One Religion—Two States?

Aliagha Mammadli, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the ANAS - Baku

About some factors of stability of ethnic identity of Azerbaijanis during the Soviet period (in Russian) 


11.15-11.30: coffee break


Ceyhun Mahmudlu, Center for Security and Energy Research, Qafqaz University

Ethnic Origin and Azerbaijanism

Aydin Balayaev, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the ANAS

The Revival of Islam in Azerbaijan and Its Influence on National Identity (in Russian)

13.00-14.00: Lunch break


Chair: Adeline Braux


Azerbaijan in Its Regional Environment

Nariman Karakhani, Qafqaz university 

Civilization values of Azerbaijan and its relationship with other civilizations 

Clément Therme, CETOBAC/EHESS - Paris

The Azeri question in historical and cultural perspectives: the view from Iran 

Serkan Yolacan, Duke University - Durham

A seesaw across the Black Sea: Turkish-Azeri encounters in old frontiers

Laurent Vinatier, Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University

Russia’s new unpredictability: a chance for peace in Nagorno-Karabakh 

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