Curricular Materials on the South Caucasus

New curricular materials for higher education on a variety of topics about the South Caucasus region are available for free at http://arisc.org/?page_id=2792.

Modules are available to be used as scholarly vignettes on Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to enhance instruction and to give students an opportunity to learn more about a fascinating yet often ignored region of the world. Topics covered include architecture, economics, history, migration, and politics, among others.

The modules are separated into different general categories and include text, slides, and links for further reading. Full videos from the original conference presentations are also available.

The South Caucasus is an area that lies between Eastern Europe and Southwest and Central Asia and includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. This region has played a vital role in the history of Russia, Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey. Indeed, it is impossible to understand issues in several of those countries in any discipline — from political science to archaeology, or from linguistics to literature — without attention to the South Caucasus. Yet, it is also an important region in its own right.

In April 2014, the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) held the interdisciplinary Caucasus Connections Conference, which focused on the institutions, languages, cultures and histories that connect, as well as divide, the various places and peoples of the South Caucasus. The conference featured 19 high-caliber presentations by scholars in different stages of their careers from all over the world.

The conference presentations were used to create modules with the goal of enhancing instruction in higher education courses. Instructors using the materials will also have an opportunity to provide feedback on the resources using a survey available from the ARISC website.

As one participant aptly put it, “This conference was noteworthy in so many ways. The shared space among experts, the breadth of topics, and most important, the emphasis on a region that is too often lost in a sea of greater empires. Perhaps knowing a bit more about Transcaucasia, we can understand more about the complexities of these sorts of regions: their peoples’ cultures, histories, economies, and in doing so, possibly assist in finding resolutions to their conflicts.”

The conference and the curriculum materials were supported in full by a Title VI grant from the US Department of Education. Specifically, 100% of the project, or $4402, was financed with these funds.

The Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington co-sponsored the conference.

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