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Caucasus Connections Conference

Fri, Apr 4, 8:00 am to Sat, Apr 5, 12:00 pm
Indiana University


Caucasus Connections

Indiana University, Bloomington
April 4-5, 2014

You can watch the livestream of the Conference here:

Conference Sponsored by
The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC)
The Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus in cooperation with the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington announces an interdisciplinary conference focused on the institutions, languages, cultures and histories that connect (as well as divide) the various places and peoples of the South Caucasus.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Harsha Ram (University of California, Berkeley)
Featured Speakers: Dr. Ed Lazzerini (Indiana University), Dr. Christina Maranci (Tufts University), and Dr. Kevin Tuite (University of Montreal)

With scholarly contributions that span the humanities and social sciences, as well as pedagogy and innovative teaching (online or otherwise) the conference will address the ties that bind the Caucasus (and the Caucasus to the outside world) in relation to a series of related themes, including:

  • “The Imagined Caucasus” explores the role of both internal and external representations in shaping the region.  Papers will explore images of the South Caucasus in literature, history, art, film and other media from the ancient past to the present.
  • “Caucasus and Circulation” investigates the movement of people and goods across the Caucasian landscape.   Papers will address the infrastructure and dynamics of movement from the Silk Road through modern pipelines.
  • “Cultural Connections” examines the myriad everyday practices that provide the basis for recognition across even the most contested borders: the music, dances, foodways, and material culture that give rise to a sense of the South Caucasus as a shared world.
  • “Crossroads and Peripheries” studies the South Caucasus region in relation to its near neighbors and distant diasporas.

Organizers: ARISC Directors Edward Lazzerini (Indiana University) and Mary Neuburger (University of Texas, Austin)

More information can be found here:



8.00-8.15              Welcome Comments


Caucasus and Circulation

8.15-8.45              Featured Speaker: Kevin Tuite, University of Montreal

                   “Is ‘Caucasus’ singular or plural?”

8.45-8.55              Discussion

8.55-9.15              “(Un)welcome Guests: Caucasus Traders in late Soviet Leningrad and Moscow”

                  Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University

9.15-9.35              “’The Caucasus is in the Hands of Revolutionaries’: Circulation, Connections, and Caucasian Armenians”

                    Houri Berberian, California State University, Long Beach

9.35-9.50              Coffee Break

9.50-10.10           “Fereydan, Saingilo, and the Local Construction of Cross-Border Nationality”

                   Claire Kaiser, University of Pennsylvania

10.10-10.30         “The Move South: The Emergence of Baku as a Socio-Cultural and Educational Center of Late-Nineteenth-Early Twentieth Century Azerbaijani Intelligentsia”

                   Aimee Dobbs, Indiana University, Bloomington

10.30-10.45         Discussion

10.45-11.00         Coffee Break


Crossroads and Peripheries

11.00-11.30         Featured Speaker: Christina Maranci, Tufts University 

                             “Armenian Art in the Seventh Century and the Problem of “Periphery”‘

11.30-11.40         Discussion

11.40-12.00         “Baku: From Cosmopolitan City to National Capital of Azerbaijan”

                              Shamkhal Abilov, Qafqaz University

12.00-12.20         “Offences of the National Memory: Political Orientation and Ethnic Identity in the Soviet Azerbaijan”

                              Shalala Mammadova, Baku State University

12.20-12.40         “Spaces of Diaspora Investment: Urban Transformations and Transnational Linkages in the Landscape of Yerevan”

                  Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, University of Miami

12.40-12.55         Discussion

12.55-2.15           Lunch break


 Cultural Connections

2.15-2.45              Featured Speaker: Edward Lazzerini, Indiana University, Bloomington

                   “Snoopy and the Mulla”

2.45-2.55              Discussion

2.55-3.15              “’Light Your Fire!’: Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest”                                                        

      Alyssa Mathias, University of California, Los Angeles

3. 15-3.35        “Contesting the Religious Landscape: The ‘Churches’ Discourse of the Armenian Community of Tbilisi, Georgia”

              Yulia Antonyan, Yerevan State University

3.35-3.50              Coffee Break

3.50-4.10              “Mountains of Letters: Tracing Literacy Across the Early Soviet South Caucasus”                                           

                               Jeremy Johnson, University of Michigan

4.10-4.30              “The Dekady of the Art of Caucasian Republics, 1937-1944”

                   Isabelle Kaplan, Georgetown University

4.30-4.45              Discussion


 Keynote Address

5.00        “The Literary Origins of the Georgian Feast: The Cosmopolitan Poetics of a National Tradition”

               Harsha Ram, University of California, Berkeley


A reception will follow the keynote address. Light refreshments will be served.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

8.15-9.00              Coffee


Panel Discussion

9.00-9.30              Panel Overview

9.30-10.00           “Incongruent Strategies: Engagements with Humor and Identity in Contemporary Azerbaijani Art”

                   Monica Steinberg, City University of New York

10.00-10.30         “’Francs’ Armenian Catholics in Armenia and Georgia in 20th Century”

        Jakub Osiecki, Pontifical University of John Paul II

10.30-11.00         “Displacing, Circulating and Resettling Armenians: Transcaucasia in Transnational Humanitarian Networks 1920-1930”

                   Jo Laycock, Sheffield Hallam University

11.00-11.30         “Armenians and Jews: Neighbors in Memory”

                  Harutyun Marutyan, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, NAS, Armenia

11.30-12.00          Questions / Discussions

12.00                     Closing Remarks


The conference is free and open to the public. We kindly request attendees to register for the conference through the downloadable registration form. Registration Form

ARISC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or status as a covered veteran.

This conference is free and open to the public, and is supported with a grant from the US Department of Education and is co-sponsored by the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.