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CfP – The Caucasus at the Imperial Twilight: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Nation-Building, from 1870s to 1920s


October 15, 2012

Event Date:

June 06, 2013 - June 08, 2013

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The 4th Turkish Studies Project Conference:

The Caucasus at the Imperial Twilight: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and
Nation-Building, from 1870s to 1920s

Tbilisi, Georgia
6-8 June 2013

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.

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,
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

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

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
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 we 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 8. We 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. We
very much hope that you will be able to participate.

M. Hakan Yavuz , University of Utah hakan.yavuz@
Umut Uzer, Istanbul Technical University umuthome@hotmail. com
Alexander Kvitashvili, President of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State
University sandro.kvitashvili@

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