Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword? Historians, Disputed Ownership of History, and Ethnic Conflict in the South Caucasus ~ DAY 1

Artsakh Karabakh NAASR Nagorno-Karabakh Society for Armenian Studies UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies UCLA Promise Armenian Institute

Friday and Saturday, January 28 - 29, 2022, at 12-6pm Eastern / 9am-3pm Pacific.
On Zoom and the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute YouTube channel.

The profession of history and its practitioners have often been at the forefront or in the trenches of ethnic conflicts and cleansings from the Balkans to the Former Soviet Union. Spurred by the violence and monument-destruction in the mountainous region of the Karabakh, this symposium brings together some of the world’s leading authorities to examine the role of historians in fanning the flames of ethnic/territorial conflicts across the troubled landscape of the South Caucasus.

Examining case studies from Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia to Nagorno Karabakh and its surrounding regions and Nakhijevan in Azerbaijan, scholars will present comparative and connective histories of how the historian’s craft and its proponents have been implicated in the incitement of conflict and the destruction of cultural heritage. Topics to be explored include Soviet nationality policy, the production of national histories for the South Caucasian nationalities, the standardization of curricula of national histories under Soviet and post-Soviet rule, and the destruction of historical monuments.

A concluding plenary panel will assess the question of historical memory in the South Caucasus and how historians in the region can help facilitate peace and conflict resolution.

DAY 1: January 28, 2022
Introductions and Keynote 12-1pm Eastern / 9-10am Pacific
Ann Karagozian: Welcoming Remarks
Sebouh David Aslanian: The ‘Mountain of Tongues’ (ǰabal al-alsun), Difference, and Ethnic Conflict in the South Caucasus
Victor A. Shnirelman: Images of the Past and Conflicts of the Present

PANEL 1: Russian Imperial Expansion and Soviet Nationality Policy 1-3pm Eastern/10am-12pmm Pacific
Victor Agadjanian: Panel Chair
Stephen Badalyan Riegg: Ascending the Mountain of Tongues: Russia’s Annexation of the South Caucasus and its Implications
Ronald Grigor Suny: Primordial Poppy Growers and the War on Drugs: Historians and the Soviet Empire's Production of Nations
Terry Martin: Strategic Primordialism: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis?
Adrienne Edgar: Discussant

BREAK: 3-3:30pm Eastern / 12-12:30pm Pacific

PANEL 2: The Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh Conflict and the “Invented Tradition” of Caucasian Albanian History 3:30-5:30pm Eastern 12:30- 2:30pm Pacific
Peter Cowe: Panel Chair
Marco Bais: Albanians and Albania in Greek and Latin Sources: Problems and Methodological Issues
Sebouh David Aslanian: Caucasian Albania as an Invented Tradition and the “Paper War” Between Armenian and Azeri Historians
Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev: The Legacy of Stalinism in the post-Soviet Nations and the Cultural Cleansing in Nagornyj Karabagh
Levon Abrahamyan: The Semiotic Roots of the Caucasian Albania Issue
Marc Mamigonian: Discussant

Click here for the video and program for DAY 2.

For the complete two-day program, click here. 

Armenian Studies Center of the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute

UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History
UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)

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