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CfP - Student Research Initiatives within the Project “Strategies for Armenian-Georgian Cooperation through Academia and Student Inclusion”

Deadline:

April 07, 2015

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Project Description

The aim of the project is
Within the framework of the Project, students (MA and Senior BA) from universities in Georgia and Armenia will conduct joint research under academic supervision. The outcomes of the research will be presented to the public in Yerevan and Tbilisi to enhance discussions in respective expert circles and interested groups as well as to receive feedback on the quality and content.
Based on the research within the project, the students, in co-authorship with their academic supervisors, will prepare articles/policy briefs to be submitted for publication in international academic journals or publication series.
Two most outstanding students will be offered a one-month internship opportunity in academic and research organizations in Armenia and Georgia.
Research groups will be formed in a way that each group has students from both countries. Coordination and academic supervision of group work will be conducted online.
Working languages of the groups are English and/or Russian.
The groups will have the following thematic areas:

COMMON PAST

Theme 1 (Supervisor: Dr. Hranoush Kharatyan)

What have Armenia and Georgia inherited from the Soviet Era (everyday practices, attitudes toward the women and youth, etc.)? What were the differences/commonalities between the two? How can Armenia and Georgia build their future cooperation on the “success stories” of the past? What practices of the past should be cast aside?

To elaborate answers to these questions and effective possible cooperation scenarios we will focus on social/cultural anthropological joint cross-country studies of everyday life. This type of research is essential in terms of promoting mutual understanding between the two societies through learning about the everyday life of both contemporary and Soviet periods.
One important aspect of the Soviet Studies is the understanding that the Soviet society/citizen lived in “two worlds” – official/formal and non-formal/semi-underground. While on the one hand there was a large-scale construction of the official culture of everyday life, on the other hand, there were parallel counter trends shaping the “non-formal world”. Other aspects that the student research can focus on include: universalization, unification (of the way of life, knowledge of the past, russification of the historiography and culture of the Soviet space during the Soviet period, leisure, urban and rural life, as well as common Soviet heroes and local/regional/ethnic heroes, Soviet patterns of family etc.).

Theme 2 (Supervisor: Dr. Nino Chikovani)

Armenia and Georgia have been under the influence of the Empires (Iranian and Russian) for the last centuries, sharing a variety of moments of common history and traditions. What political and civilizational toolkits have been developed/applied by actors? What were the ways of adaptation? How were the adaptation strategies different/common? How could the commonalities be used as a ground to seek solutions to the anticipated dividing lines and gaps between the two states?

An interesting question for a specific study within this topic might be understanding the challenges that Georgia and Armenia face after being incorporated into the Russian Empire: similarities and differences. Searching for new responses: actualization of the problem of identity; identity narratives in Georgia and Armenia; “new intellectuals” and their activities.
Why did the problem of identity become actual in Georgia and Armenia in the second half of the 19th century (similarities and differences)? Which markers of identity became fundamental for the Georgian and Armenian national projects (similarities and differences)? Georgian and Armenian intellectuals as founding fathers of respective national projects.

 

REGIONAL AND GLOBAL POLITICS

Theme 3 (Supervisor: Dr. Hayk Kocharyan)

Current national, regional and global powers; the world order that is being shaped at present. What should we (Armenia/Georgia) do to adapt to the new world order? How should the partnership, cooperation and collaboration be built and planned to achieve more effective solutions?

The research group will focus on understanding and defining the security threats that Armenia and Georgia face. The group will also attempt to outline alternative resources that the two countries might employ to neutralize the security threats, given that the two states, and the region in general, are involved in different projects implemented by diverse national, regional and global actors, such as the United States, the EU, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Sunni fundamentalism, etc. Armenia’s and Georgia’s integration into different competing projects can have a weakening effect on the security situation in our region. Thus, to strengthen the security of the region, it is crucial to develop efficient designs that will “fit” the existing transnational/regional project/s and the interests of the involved parties.
The group members will research various frameworks of security issues in the region, as well as the role of the traditional international actors and international organizations in Armenia and Georgia. In studying these roles, the group will pay a particular attention to security risks of these integration projects.

Theme 4 (Supervisor: Dr. Kornely Kakachia)

Armenia’s way to Eurasian Union and Georgia’s way to EU association: new potential for cooperation and ways to overcome the divisions; policies from above and strategies/practices from below; challenges and instrumental strategies for effective further cooperation between Georgia and Armenia within the broader context of Georgia’s EU Association Agreement and Armenia’s Eurasian Union membership.

On the wake of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU, and Armenia’s Eurasian Union membership, the regional landscape of the South Caucasus is shifting. Within this new regional divergence, and two different choices that one region has made, it is important to examine the impact of this divergence for Georgian-Armenian bilateral relations. The research group with active supervision of academic mentor/s will focus on how and why these decisions were made, with an analysis of the implications for Armenia and Georgia, and for a broader regional level. The research group will not only identify potentially profound dividing lines but will also outline effective strategies for “bridging the divide” between the two countries.

Requirments for the Participants

  • MA and Senior BA students from Armenian and Georgian Universities
  • Knowledge of English and/or Russian
  • High level of motivation
  • Prior experience in research in relevant areas of research (including areal studies)or high level of motivation in undertaking such tasks
  • Conscientious commitment

3. Application Procedure

Applicants should send their most recent CV and the completed application form to the following email addresses: cccs@ysu.am, ketevan.khutsishvili@tsu.ge on 7 April 2015 (by 23:59). Short-listed candidates will be interviewed via Skype. In total, 18-20 students will be selected for participation in the project. For more information, please, contact us at the above-mentioned e-mail addresses.

4. Project Duration

17 April – 23 September, 2015

5. Timeline of the Project Activities

–Selection of participants 14 April, 2015
–Workshop with selected students, supervisors, project team, and cooperating experts 17-19 April, 2015, Aghveran, Armenia
–Research group-works and article drafting, including on-line consultations and discussions 20 April – 20 July, 2015
–Editing and proofreading of articles, preparation for submissions
20 July – 1 September, 2015
–Research presentations in Tbilisi and Yerevan August – September 2015

6. Project Location

Yerevan, Armenia and Tbilisi, Georgia

7. Brief Overview on Implementing and Partner Organizations

The project is initiated by “Hazarashen” NGO and funded by Heinrich Beoll Foundation South Caucasus. The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Center for Civilisation and Cultural Studies (Yerevan State University), Institute of Ethnology of Ivane Javakhishvili (Tbilisi State University), and Association of Anthropologists of Georgia.

8. Academic Supervisors

Nino Chikovani, Dr., is professor at the Institute of Cultural Studies, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and is the Head of the UNESCO Chair of Intercultural Dialogue, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Her current field of interests includes the following themes: Identity problems in multicultural societies; Problems of intercultural and interreligious dialogue; Culture and religion in the Caucasus; Collective and historical memory; Perception and representation of history. The recent publication of Nino Chikovani is Identity Narratives in Georgia: at the Origins of Multiethnic Georgian Nation (1860-1918), Tbilisi, 2014 (in Georgian).

Kornely Kakachia, Dr., is professor at the Department of Political Science, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. He coordinates the International Organizations and Global Governance MA module and teaches academic courses on World Politics, International organizations and Global governance, Challenges of Georgian Foreign Policy, Party politics: Theory and Practice, Political Ideology. Kornely Kakachia is also director of Tbilisi based think tank“Georgian Institute of Politics” (GIP). One of his recent books published is „Georgian Foreign Policy: Quest for Sustainable Security“ (Kornely Kakachia, Michael Cecire.(Eds), Konrad Adenauer Shtiftung Publication. 2013)

Hranoush Kharatyan, Dr., is Senior Researcher and Head of the research group on Applied Anthropology at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. Her current field of interests include the following themes: Caucasus Studies, ethnic, linguistic, social and other minorities, social culture of transitional societies, Armenian folk culture, memory studies, political repressions, etc. One of the recent publications of Hranoush Kharatyan discussing the memories of the past is Who to Forgive? What to Forgive? in “Speaking to One Another: Personal Memories of the Past in Armenia and Turkey” 2010, DVV International, Bonn, Republic of Germany.

Hayk Kocharyan, Dr., is Associated Professor at the Chair of Arabic Studies, Yerevan State University. He is also one of the leading researchers at the Center for Civilization & Cultural Studies, Yerevan State University. Research interests of Hayk Kocharyan include adaptation mechanisms of regional/global political projects, Islam and Middle East studies. A recent publication of Hayk Kocharyan discusses the hydrocarbon facilities of the Islamic State (Yerevan 2015).

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