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Armenia

Public Presentation by ARISC Fellows:
The Conservation of the Gospel of Tsughrut

Date: October 25, 2016
Time: 11:30 am
Venue: Yerevan Matenadaran, Virtual Matenadaran Hall
Address: Matenadaran, Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots, Virtual Matenadaran Hall, Mashtots Avenue 53, Yerevan 0009
Language: Armenian

The one thousand year old Gospel of Tsughrut or Hovhannes Avetaran is a significant piece of Armenian medieval art in terms of archaeography and simplicity of miniature expression. Many times referred to as the Guardian of Tsughrut, the Gospel has been carefully preserved and protected by the Saponjyan family as the holy relic of the village.

With the current scholarship granted by the Armenian Research Institute of the South Caucasus it has been possible to implement conservation and restoration work on the manuscript locally in the village of Tsughrut, thus ensuring longer preservation of the unique relic. The conservation of the manuscript has been implemented by senior conservators of Yerevan Matenadaran Artavazd Ayvazyan and Arthur Petrosyan, biologist Lusine Markaryan and with the supervision of Ms. Gayane Eliazyan, Head of the Restoration Department of Yerevan Mantenadaran, PhD in Chemical Science.

Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian is Berberian Coordinator of Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno. He teaches Armenian Language, Literature, History and culture courses. He is President of the Society for Armenian Studies. Prof. Der Mugrdechian has been awarded the St. Nerses Shnorhali medal for his services to the Armenian Church in 2010 by Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.

Arusyak Baldryan is a MA student of UNESCO World Heritage Studies at Brandenburg Technical University of Cottbus Senftenberg in Germany. She has worked in cultural non-profit projects in Yerevan, Tbilisi, Dresden and Berlin.

With joint efforts Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian and Arusyak Baldryan have initiated the Conservation of the Gospel of Tsughrut locally in the village of Tsughrut, in cooperation with Head of the Restoration Department of Yerevan Matenadaran, Ms. Gayane Eliazyan thus preventing the further decay of the medieval Armenian Manuscript (dating back to 974). Der Mugrdechian and Baldryan are recipients of an ARISC Collaborative Heritage Management Grant for their project.

This event is free and open to the public. https://www.facebook.com/events/1671219589859741/

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, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran.

Film Group in Yerevan

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus is pleased to invite you to attend the Film Group in Yerevan, which will kindly be hosted by AEON on May 26, 2016, at 18:00

We will watch “Mimino” (with English subtitles).

The film is about a provincial pilot who decided to come back to big aviation. Attaining his dream, the pilot realized how strong the connection was with his homeland and he made up his mind to…

Venue: AEON, 3a Teryan Street, Yerevan, Armenia

Entrance is free. The group is open to the public. Feel free to join and invite your friends. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at armenia “at”arisc.org or AEON on 010 53 87 66 / 095 53 87 66 or info@aeonyerevan.com.

Reading Group in Yerevan

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus is pleased to invite you to attend the Reading Group in Yerevan, which will kindly be hosted by AEON on May 12, 2016, at 18:00

We will read “The Woman”, written by Anri Grigorian.

Venue: AEON, 3a Teryan Street, Yerevan, Armenia

Entrance is free. The group is open to the public, the reading and discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at armenia “at” arisc.org or AEON on 010 53 87 66 / 095 53 87 66 or info “at” aeonyerevan.com.

Reading Group in Yerevan

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus is pleased to invite you to attend the Reading Group in Yerevan, which will kindly be hosted by AEON on April 28, 2016, at 18:00

We will read “Through the Rainbow”, written by Marine Khachadour.

When you reach the rainbow, you will be transformed into a boy,” my grandmother told me when I was a young girl, and I tried many times. Not because I wanted to become a boy, but because I was determined to experience a miracle, the extraordinary…
Venue: AEON, 3a Teryan Street, Yerevan, Armenia

Entrance is free. The group is open to the public, the reading and discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at armenia “at” arisc.org or AEON on 010 53 87 66 / 095 53 87 66 or info “at” aeonyerevan.com.

Public Presentation by ARISC Fellow Daniel Fittante
Connection without Engagement: The Paradoxes of North American Armenian Return Migration

Date: April 26, 2016
Time: 6:00- 8:00 pm
Venue: Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography, NAS RA
Address: Library of the Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography, 3rd floor, Charents-15, Yerevan, Armenia
Language: English (Armenian Slides Will be Provided)

Return migration has emerged as an important sub-field within migration studies. The scholarship has introduced new ways of understanding migratory trajectories by incorporating the roles of migrants’ ethnicity and imagination. As such, the existing scholarship has identified novel ways of unpacking migratory patterns whose motivations are not centered on economic mobility. But the scholarship has also opened a chasm by documenting the ethnic and sentimental motivations that generate migration and the unexpected difficulties returnees encounter once they have settled in their perceived homelands. The current research project attempts to fill that void by investigating the experiences of North American Armenians who have “returned” to Armenia. It seeks to extend the existing theoretical framework by demonstrating how ethnic returnees sustain a powerful feeling of connection to a country to which they simultaneously harbor a sense of disengagement from local practices.

This event is free and open to the public.

Daniel Fittante is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA. He received his B.A. from UCLA (2005) and M.A. from the University of Chicago (2010). Daniel works on contemporary Armenian transnationalism, diaspora, and immigration. His research evaluates the paradoxical role of advocacy via institutionalization as a mediating process through which ethnic communities become integrated into host societies. While his dissertation research largely evaluates this process of integration in the Armenian community of Glendale, California, he is especially interested in the distinctive multi-polarity of Armenian activity worldwide. Thus, he is also developing comparative research projects in Istanbul, Moscow, Paris, Yerevan, and others.

Funding for the ARISC Graduate Fellowship was made in part by private donations.

Reading Group in Yerevan

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus is pleased to invite you to attend the Reading Group in Yerevan, which will kindly be hosted by AEON on April 8, 2016, at 18:00

We will read “The Last Word Was Love”, written by William Saroyan. Please contact us at armenia”at”arisc.org, and we will send the material to you.

Venue: AEON, 3a Teryan Street, Yerevan, Armenia

Entrance is free. The group is open to the public, the reading and discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends. We are looking forward to meeting you.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at armenia “at” arisc.org or AEON on 010 53 87 66 / 095 53 87 66 or info “at” aeonyerevan.com.

Reading Group in Yerevan

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus is pleased to invite you to attend the Reading Group in Yerevan, which will kindly be hosted by AEON on March 17, 2016, at 17:00.
We will read “Gaston”, written by William Saroyan. Please contact us at armenia”at”arisc.org, and we will send the material to you.

Venue: AEON, 3a Teryan Street, Yerevan, Armenia

Entrance is free. The group is open to the public, the reading and discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends. We are looking forward to meeting you.
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at armenia “at” arisc.org or AEON on 010 53 87 66 / 095 53 87 66 or info “at”aeonyerevan.com.

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Azerbaijan

Public Talk in Baku “Writing Home: Communication of Muslim Refugees Between the Ottoman and Russian Empires”

The AmericanAmerican Research Institute of the South Caucasus in cooperation with Baku American center is pleased to present public talk by Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky, Stanford University, titled “Writing Home: Communication of Muslim Refugees Between the Ottoman and Russian Empires”

Location: Baku American Center, 134 Rashid Behbudov st.
Date: 25 August, 2016
Time: 5 pm

Abstract:

In the late Ottoman and tsarist era, over a million North Caucasus Muslims emigrated to Anatolia, Syria, and the Balkans. Known as muhajirs, they played an important role in the late Ottoman society and contributed to the demographic and political reshaping of the modern Middle East. What is less known is how many muhajirs preserved connections with their homeland. Based on rare private letters, exchanged between refugees and their families in the Caucasus, this paper explores a “secret” world that was largely hidden from Ottoman and Russian authorities. Private communication across the Russo-Ottoman frontier challenges some of our assumptions about the rigidness of borders and identities in the two empires in the 1860-1914 period.

Speaker’s bio:

Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky is a Ph.D. candidate in Ottoman and Modern Middle Eastern History at Stanford University. He conducted research on Muslim refugee migration in public and private archives in Turkey, Jordan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. His work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the American Research Center in Sofia, and the American Center for Oriental Research.

* This event is free and open to the public. 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.

ARISC Reading Group in Baku

American Research Institute of the South Caucasus and Baku American Center invite you to the Reading Group in Baku.

Date & time: Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 3:30 pm

Venue: Baku American Center, Azerbaijan University of Languages, 60 R. Behbudov str.

Reading: “The Intellectual life of Shah Ismail I and his Care, Love, Respect Towards his Mother Tongue (Turkish)”, by Mohammad Karim Yousefjamali & Azar Gholizadeh Sarabi

Available here: http://jhss-khazar.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/03zakir-mlmSON-YENI-VARIANT-IRAN.pdf

Reading the article prior to the meeting is not necessary.
This event is free and open to the public.
For additional information, please contact us at Azerbaijan “at” arisc.org

ARISC Reading Group in Baku

Date & time: Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 4 pm
Venue: Baku American Center, Azerbaijan University of Languages, 60 R. Behbudov str.

Reading: “History and Policy of Translating Poetry: Azerbaijan and its Neighbors” by Hamlet Isakhanli

Available here: http://www.khazar.org/files/History_and_Policy_of_Translating_Poetry.pdf

Reading the article prior to the meeting is not necessary.
This event is free and open to the public.
For additional information, please contact us at Azerbaijan “at” arisc.org

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Georgia

WiP: “Georgian Social Democracy: from Class to Nation”

By Stephen Jones, Mount Holyoke College and ARISC Vice President

Date: November 16, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Professor Stephen F. Jones received his Ph.D (Georgian Social Democracy in Opposition and Power, 1918-1921) from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1984. He has taught at the University of California, the University of London, and University College, Oxford. He was a Research Fellow at Harvard University and a Senior Associate Member at St Anthony’s College, Oxford. Since 1989 he has taught at Mount Holyoke College in the US. Professor Jones has written over 70 articles and chapters on Georgian affairs. Since fall 2014, Professor Jones is a Vice-President of ARISC. He is a Fulbright scholar at Tbilisi State University.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Georgian foreign fighter deaths in Syria and Iraq: What can they tell us about overall recruitment trends?”

By Bennett Clifford

Date: November 9, at 18:30 pm
Venue: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia Auditorium, 3 Purtseladze Str. Tbilisi, Georgia

Bennett Clifford recently received a BA degree in Politics and International Affairs from Wake Forest University. He will start a MA degree in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University) in 2018. Previously, Bennett worked at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS). His research interests include terrorism, sub-state conflict, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism, with a focus on the Caucasus region. Currently, Ben is an International Fellow at CRRC-Georgia.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Georgian National Museum, ARISC, Center for Social Sciences and Ilia State University organize a public lecture

“Oral History as a Tool for Research and Museology”

by Robert van Voren, Human Rights in Mental Health – Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry

Date: November 8, at 7 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

In his presentation, Robert van Voren will explain how oral history can help to fill in blank spaces in historiography and help provide a multi-dimensional and more honest picture of the past. He discusses not only the skills required to make good oral history interviews, but also gives examples from his own practice, e.g. the development of a Maidan Oral History Program in Ukraine which has resulted by now in more than 300 interviews with direct participants. He also discusses developments in the field of museology, where oral history is becoming an increasingly important part of portraying a more holistic image of the past, and how museology can be a tool to strengthen democracy and the establishment of civil society based on the rule of law.

Robert van Voren (1959) is Chief Executive of Human Rights in Mental Health – Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP) and a Sovietologist by education. Starting in 1977 he became active in the Soviet human rights movement. For many years he traveled to the USSR as a courier, delivering humanitarian aid and smuggling out information on the situation in camps, prisons and psychiatric hospitals.

Van Voren is a board member of several organizations in the field of human rights and mental health and has written extensively on Soviet issues and, in particular, issues related to mental health and human rights, and published a dozen books. His most recent ones are On Dissidents and Madness(2009), Cold War in Psychiatry (2010) and Undigested Past – the Holocaust in Lithuania (2011).

He is currently Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and the Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia, and visiting professor at Grinchenko University in Kyiv.

WiP: “The Armenian Church in the USSR”

By Felix Corley

Date: November 2, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Felix Corley is completing a book on the history of the Armenian Church throughout the Soviet period. He is the author of Religion in the Soviet Union: An Archival Reader (Palgrave, 1996), and is the editor of Forum 18 News Service, an agency monitoring religious freedom in the former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “The Documentary Tradition in Georgian Film”

By Julie Christensen, George Mason University

Date: October 26, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Prof. Christensen will discuss the way/s that documentary film and the documentary tradition were used during the heyday of Soviet Georgian Film (focusing primarily on Otar Ioseliani), and will then consider present applications, attitudes, and intentions, with special attention to documentaries by women directors.

Julie A. Christensen is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Langauges at George Mason University, specializing in Russian language, literature and film and in Soviet and post-Soviet film, including the Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Eastern Europe.

http://mcl.gmu.edu/people/jchriste

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Historical Legacies in the Management of Georgia’s Water Resources”

By Ryan Wyeth, Indiana University

Date: October 19, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

A key aspect of the present-day management of Georgia’s water resources is the rehabilitation and expansion of hydroelectric facilities and of irrigation networks. This development continues to be treated as a priority, despite concerns voiced by academics and activists, both past and present, regarding the advisability of such projects from economic, environmental and social points of view. This presentation, based on a portion of the speaker’s master’s thesis research, will examine the development of hydroelectric production and irrigation in Georgia and the growing objections to such projects. It will then provide a possible explanation for why these projects continue to remain a priority in Georgia, despite the aforementioned objections, and identify directions for further research on this topic.

Ryan Wyeth just recently received his MA in Geography from Indiana University. His thesis examines the political ecology of water resources management in Georgia over the past several decades. It focuses on the turbulent period of transition from union republic of the USSR to independent nation state in the 1990s, examining the effects of this turbulent transition on management of the country’s water resources.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Challenges to Civil Liberties and Russian-Georgian Links”

By Sonja Schiffers, Freie Universität Berlin

Date: October 5, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

In 1989, Francis Fukuyama published his famous article on ‘the end of history’, in which he declared the “ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy” and an “unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism”. However, meanwhile, illiberal political tendencies have strengthened in many countries and scholars speak of a “pushback trend”, in which governments and transnational actors actively cooperate to undermine democratization processes. As has been argued, regional political contexts play important roles with regard to the paths taken by transition states; thus, the strengthening of illiberalism in regional powers (like Russia) can potentially be influential as to political developments in their neighborhood. While Georgia has undoubtedly made much progress with regards to the protection of civil liberties, particularly in terms of the legal framework, studies have demonstrated that societal attitudes have, for example with regards to LGBTI issues, actually become more intolerant. The project aims at explaining this puzzle by linking external factors (Russian foreign policy) with (Georgian) domestic politics.

Sonja Schiffers is a PhD candidate in International Relations at Freie Universität Berlin funded by the German National Academic Foundation. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS). During and after her studies, Sonja spent one year in Russia, amongst others as an international relations tutor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), as well as half a year in Georgia, including as an intern of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Sonja is also a project manager for the Polis180 e.V. project „Women and International Politics in Germany and Ukraine“.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Regulatory Affairs and the Outdoor Food Market in Tbilisi, Georgia”

By Natalja Czarnecki, University of Chicago and ARISC Fellow

Date: September 28, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

This presentation takes “regulation” and its objects as the theme through which 2.5 months’ of ethnographic survey data will be reviewed. Through ARISC (American Research Institute of the South Caucasus) Junior Research Fellowship funding, the researcher was able to work with two Georgian students on this ethnographic survey of the outdoor food market, or bazari. Focusing on the outdoor markets in Didube, Tbilisi, we mapped a sociology of the bazari in terms of labor relations and patterns, daily exchange practices, and the politics of regulation. The presentation will begin by situating this research in the context of the larger dissertation project, focusing on relations of trust between food vendors and Tbilisi shoppers.

Natalja Czarnecki is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She has conducted dissertation fieldwork in Tbilisi for several years, through funding from Fulbright-Hays, the University of Chicago’s Social Sciences Division, and ARISC. She has now started working through her ethnographic data and writing her dissertation.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Information War and Social Media”

Svitlana Matviyenko, University of Western Ontario

Date: September 21, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Dr. Svitlana Matviyenko is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) at the University of Western Ontario (Canada) where she teaches political economy of information, social and mobile media. This fall, she is a research fellow at the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, Ukraine, where she teaches a course on media archaeology and political economy of the “information city”.

Dr. Matviyenko researches psychological and psychoanalytical aspects of users’ interaction with the web to theorize such recent phenomena as the complicit user and the networking drive.

https://svitlanamatviyenko.net/

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announced the first talk of the Fall 2016 WiP series!

***NOTE: This talk WILL BE ON MONDAY instead of the usual Wednesday!!!***

“Post-Soviet Conspiracy Theories”

By Scott Radnitz, University of Washington

Date: September 5, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Post-Soviet citizens are notorious for endorsing conspiracy theories (CTs). This project investigates the origins and political uses of CTs through analysis of a database of Russian-language CTs in the post-Soviet region since 1995, and focus groups and public opinion surveys of Georgia and Kazakhstan. Among other questions considered are, How do political institutions and geopolitical relations affect the types of CTs propagated and endorsed? What are the causal assumptions that lie behind CT belief? What types of events tend to give rise to CTs? How do CTs diffuse across national boundaries? And what does a propensity toward CT belief say, if anything, about political engagement? Disclaimer: This talk will not reveal which CTs are true, including whether Donald Trump is really an agent of the Kremlin.

Scott Radnitz is Associate Professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and Director of the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington. He does research on the post-Soviet region, covering topics such as protests, authoritarianism, informal networks, and identity.

http://faculty.washington.edu/srad/

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Nathaniel Erb-Satullo’s Public Talk

American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) is pleased to invite you to the public talk on

“Settlement Structure and Craft Production in Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Communities in Kvemo Kartli, Southern Georgia”

By Dr. Nathaniel Erb-Satullo, Harvard University and ARISC Fellow

Date: August 30, 2016, at 16:00
Venue: 3 Chavchavadze Ave., Tbilisi State University II Block, III floor, room #336

This talk will discuss recent research on Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (c. 1500-500 BC) hilltop sites in Kvemo Kartli. Positioned between the Kura River Lowlands and the Lesser Caucasus Highlands, settlements on hilltops controlled routes of access through foothill zones that were rich in ore deposits. Previous survey in 2014 suggested that metal production was carried out at some of these hilltop sites. In the past two years, geophysical survey, excavation, and laboratory analyses have confirmed evidence of iron production, copper production, and mining activity at the site of Mtsvane Gora. Yet despite its commanding position within the landscape and its evidence of metal production, Mtsvane Gora was not the largest site in its immediate surroundings. Survey at the neighboring site of Kavakhtepe has identified a large Late Bronze-Early Iron Age Site with multiple fortified terrace walls and a possible lower town. As yet, no evidence of metal production has been found at the site. While preliminary, these results demonstrate that this topographic borderland is an ideal place to examine the spatial organization of metal production, at both intra-site and valley-wide scales.

Dr. Nathaniel Erb-Satullo received his PhD in Anthropological Archaeology from Harvard University in May 2016. His current research focuses on metal production and technological change in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, examining how the existence of pre-existing traditions of metal production impacted the adoption of iron.

WiP: Linking botanical and cultural conservation in Adjara, Georgia

By Richard W. Tate, University of Florida and ARISC fellow

Date: July 27, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

This multi-faceted ethnobotanical research project seeks to tie the conservation of Adjara’s diverse plant life to the continued viability of traditional knowledge systems of the region’s peoples. Ethnobotany is a field aptly described as a crossroads of botany and anthropology, and the discipline’s interdisciplinary nature makes it uniquely suited to examining the complex interactions of humans and the environment. This approach has unique potential in the South Caucasus, an area that boasts an amazing wealth of sociolinguistic groups, unique biota, and a vibrant tradition of wild plant use. Through interviews with local peoples, our research team will explore how cultural features, land use choices, and environmental factors affect traditional plant use patterns in the dynamic context of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

Richard W. Tate is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida. He is pursuing a PhD degree through the School of Natural Resources and Environment’s Interdisciplinary Ecology program.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Public presentation on “The Lived Geopolitics of (Non)Recognition and the Elastic Geography of Borderization”

By Ariel Otruba, Rutgers University and ARISC Fellow

Date: July 22, 2016, at 16:00
Venue: 3/5 Kakutsa Cholokshvili St., Ilia State University, E Block, room #E207

The talk is organized within the Series of Anthropological Seminars at Ilia State University.

Ariel Otruba is a current graduate fellow at the American Research Institute for the South Caucasus (ARISC) and a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.  Her scholarly interests include geographies of conflict and violence, border studies, postcolonial development and feminist approaches to critical geopolitics. Ariel holds a MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from Arcadia University and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Juniata College.

WiP: “Leninopad: Ukraine’s Struggle with its Soviet Past”

By Ani Chkhikvadze, Georgetown University

Date: July 20, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Since the Maidan revolution Ukraine has struggled to break with its Soviet legacy. This talk will present the findings of the speaker’s master’s thesis on de-communization in post-Maidan Ukraine.
Questions about history, culture, and language were revisited after the Russian aggression following the Maidan revolution. The new government that came in office in the spring of 2014 passed “decommunization” laws with the hope to erase Ukraine’s Soviet past once and for all and thus re-shape Ukrainian collective memory. The decommunization process included removing Communist and Nazi symbols, denouncing the Soviet regime, and glorifying Ukraine’s freedom fighters. Decommunization bills were rushed through the parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – without much public discussion, and soon came under fire from local and international experts and organizations over the concerns of limiting freedom of speech.
The present study paper looks at the post-Maidan developments in Ukraine, and examines whether the “Revolution of Dignity” set a new discourse in Ukraine. The central question is why did post-Maidan government decided to carry out the decommunization process. In this light it tries to understand the internal and external factors that led the Poroshenko administration to revisit the Soviet past.

Ani Chkhikvadze is a Georgian graduate student at the Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. Ms. Chkhikvadze has worked with several civil society organizations in Georgia and Ukraine, as well as for international donors and actors on the issues related to Foreign Policy Analyses, conflict resolution and election monitoring. Ani was an Associate at Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS) and a journalist for Tabula Magazine for three years, covering global politics. Ani’s primary focus lies in the Eastern Partnership region and the nexus of EU and NATO foreign policy as it relates to regional conflicts. Ani received her BA in International Relations from Tbilisi State University, and she was a participant of the Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD) of the US State Department.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Constraints on the Growth of the Private Security Sector in Comparative Perspective”

By Matthew Light, University of Toronto

Date: July 20, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

While many studies have addressed the origins, nature, and size of private security, much less is known about why the industry does not develop at the same rate everywhere. In particular, few studies have asked why it flourishes in some countries, while failing to do so in others, including some where we might have expected it to thrive. Using a comparative case study approach and drawing on the wealth of existing studies, we aim to generate some basic inferences about the causes of growth and failure of growth in private security. We group together for comparison cases that are highly similar on some key parameter of interest, as well as geographically proximate, but differ in the size of their private policing sector. We then proceed inductively to identify several underlying macro-causes that influence the growth of private policing. We suggest that variation in regulation may be more important in developed democracies; the desire for a state monopoly on policing may be more significant in authoritarian regimes; and poverty and lack of a market for private security may play the crucial role in developing countries.

Matthew Light is Associate Professor of Criminology at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. He has a BA from Harvard, an MA from the Univ. of Chicago, and a JD and a PhD in Political Science from Yale.

http://criminology.utoronto.ca/facultyandstaff/faculty-2/faculty/matthew-light/

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “The System is Not Broke, It’s Broken”: The Global Crisis in Humanitarian Aid

By Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Indiana University Bloomington

Date: July 6, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The rapid increase in the world’s population of displaced people has placed enormous strain on the global humanitarian aid system. With over 65 million displaced people worldwide, the UN-led aid system is now facing a shortfall of $15 billion this fiscal year alone. But critics have charged that the aid system, in which 15 large donors and 15 large international aid agencies control more than 85% of the funding, is not just financially broke, but structurally broken. Despite many calls for reform, though, there has been little change. What are the key issues preventing change in the humanitarian sector? And what can be done to repair the system so many desperate people depend on? Using research conducted over 8 years in the humanitarian community and in the Republic of Georgia, I discuss key structural barriers in humanitarian aid and innovations in aid delivery that can transform the way we help refugees and IDPs.

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Indiana University Bloomington. Her work focuses on the effects of large bureaucratic systems during periods of cataclysmic social change. She explores amongst others the effects of war or famine on the people in a given geographic region. In 2004, Dunn published her first monography “Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor”. In this book she examines the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe as cataclysmic social change, using the example of a Polish company and its fate. Her attention turns especially to questions of power and hierarchy – between the corporation’s management and the workers but also between potential foreign importers and the industries of the former Eastern bloc countries. Dunn’s current project focuses on the very up-to-date issue of humanitarianism and displacement, expulsion and uprooting. Between 2009 and 2012, she conducted a fieldwork in refugee camps in Georgia; the result of her study will be published in the forthcoming book “Unsettled: Humanitarianism and Displacement in the Republic of Georgia”.

http://geography.indiana.edu/faculty/dunn.shtml

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Neoliberal Orientalism and the Arab Uprisings: Art and Politics in the ‘Arab Street’

By Rayya El Zein, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Date: June 29, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Adapted from parts of my doctoral dissertation, in this talk I argue that a particular configuration of empire, capital, and media produces a framework of representing Arab youth in the wake of the Arab Uprisings of 2011-2013. Neoliberal orientalism marks particular ways of representing, accessing, and understanding Arab youth cultures and politics. Besides perpetuating orientalist stereotypes about Arab “others” and the political and social systems in predominantly Muslim societies, neoliberal orientalism is particular in how it depoliticizes by liberalizing Arab youth and emergent political expression. This talk identifies the frameworks neoliberal orientalist representation of Arab artists in particular, and works to unpack how they function.

Rayya El Zein holds a PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her dissertation focused on rap concerts in the Arab world and the frameworks of representation that determined politics for Arab youth in urban contexts in the Levant. Her work and reviews have been published in Lateral, Theatre Journal, Ethnomusicology Forum, ROAR, and on the e-zine Jadaliyya. She lives in Tbilisi.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Nostalgia, modernity, minorities and the Soviet past in Armenia and Georgia”

By Maxim Edwards, University of Glasgow and Corvinus University of Budapest

Date: June 22, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Since independence, Armenia and Georgia have taken strongly divergent paths in their policies on decommunisation. The Saakashvili period in Georgia saw the implementation of a transformative approach to memory politics, externalising the socialist period and framing it as an occupation. In contrast, much research on mnemonic practices in Armenia has focused on the Armenian genocide as a central locus in the modern national narrative. Armenia’s soviet past has with some exceptions been a site of “cold memory” (Meier).

This research aims for a qualitative understanding of the role of Soviet nostalgia in modern Armenia and Georgia and how (or whether) it has a place in dominant national narratives today, as identified in national museums and school history textbooks. Rather than establishing “post-socialist nostalgia” as strictly a site of ideological conviction, I frame it in a broader (if regionally specific) context of reactions to modernity, drawing on sociologists such as Bauman and Bourdieu.

I will also offer some thoughts on possible typological differences of post-socialist nostalgia in the South Caucasus, compared to other post-socialist regions. The enduring, “pseudo-religious” (Bakradze) personality cult of Stalin plays an important role in this regard, as does the relative absence of commercialised “Soviet retro” in the region as compared to other post-socialist states. This ongoing research draws on a series of interviews with respondents across Armenia and Georgia, many of whom live in rural areas and are of ethnic minority backgrounds. I contend that Soviet nostalgia in the South Caucasus is highly dependent on comparatively “cosmopolitan” memories of the post-socialist space, before the ethnopolitical conflicts of the 1990s and demographic changes. This research will continue in Armenia in July, and comments or observations are very welcome.”

Maxim Edwards is commissioning editor at openDemocracy Russia (oDR) and an MA student currently finishing the final year of an IMRCEES Erasmus MA programme at the University of Glasgow and Corvinus University of Budapest. His research interests include the politics of memory, migration and ethnic minorities, with a focus on post-socialist states. In 2013, he was a CRRC fellow in Yerevan, Armenia, and conducted research into the country’s ethnic minority communities. In 2015, he researched the identity of Georgia’s Russophone community at ECMI Caucasus.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “The development of Georgia-Europe migration streams: Lessons for the United States”

By Erin Trouth Hofmann, Utah State University, and ARISC member

Date: June 15, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Scholars of migration frequently take theories developed to describe the Mexico-U.S.A. migration system and test them in other contexts. But as migration in the United States undergoes a period of dramatic change, there is much that the Americans can learn from the experiences of other migration systems. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, men and women from Georgia began migrating to an incredible variety of European countries, making Georgia a fascinating place to study the development of new migration systems. In this talk, I will highlight two key findings from my research on Georgian migration: the importance of looking at the interaction of origin and estimation characteristics in understanding migration, and the role of local narratives in driving migration. I will discuss how these two concepts can shape how we look at recent immigration to the United States.

Erin Hofmann is a social demographer with interests in gender and international migration. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, and has been an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology at Utah State University since 2012. Here current research focuses on the ways that both cultural norms and state institutions influence migration processes, both in the former Soviet Union and in the United States.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Erik Scott – Discussion of New Book “Familiar Strangers: the Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire”

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils present the 18th talk of the Spring/Summer 2016 Works-in-Progress season!

***SPECIAL EVENT: A presentation by the author of his important new book***

Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

By Erik R. Scott, University of Kansas

Date: June 8, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

A small, non-Slavic country located far from the Soviet capital, Georgia has been more closely linked with the Ottoman and Persian empires than with Russia for most of its history. One of over one hundred officially classified Soviet nationalities, Georgians represented less than 2% of the Soviet population, yet they constituted an extraordinarily successful and powerfulminority. Familiar Strangers aims to explain how Georgians gained widespread prominence in the Soviet Union, yet remained a distinctive national community.

Through the history of a remarkably successful group of ethnic outsiders at the heart of Soviet empire, Erik R. Scott reinterprets the course of modern Russian and Soviet history. Scott contests the portrayal of the Soviet Union as a Russian-led empire composed of separate national republics and instead argues that it was an empire of diasporas, forged through the mixing of a diverse array of nationalities behind external Soviet borders. Internal diasporas from the Soviet republics migrated throughout the socialist empire, leaving their mark on its politics, culture, and economics. Arguably the most prominent diasporic group, Georgians were the revolutionaries who accompanied Stalin in his rise to power and helped build the socialist state; culinary specialists who contributed dishes and rituals that defined Soviet dining habits; cultural entrepreneurs who perfected a flamboyant repertoire that spoke for a multiethnic society on stage and screen; traders who thrived in the Soviet Union’s burgeoning informal economy; and intellectuals who ultimately called into question the legitimacy of Soviet power.

Looking at the rise and fall of the Soviet Union from a Georgian perspective, Familiar Strangers offers a new way of thinking about the experience of minorities in multiethnic states, with implications far beyond the imperial borders of Russia and Eurasia.

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/familiar-strangers-9780199396375?cc=ge&lang=en&

Professor Erik Scott (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) explores in his research migration and diaspora within and beyond the imperial borders of Russia and Eurasia. His book, Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire, looks at the USSR not simply as a Russian empire, but as an “empire of diasporas,” where politics, culture, and economics were defined by the mixing of a diverse array of mobile nationalities. Following the history of Georgians beyond the Georgian republic from 1917 to the present, the book examines the evolution of the Soviet multiethnic empire from the perspective of its most prominent internal diaspora.

He is currently at work on a second project, tentatively titled “Soviet Defectors and the Borders of the Cold War World,” which follows the unauthorized movement of people across Soviet state lines. Through an examination of the political and cultural phenomenon of Soviet defection, the project investigates how the national and ideological borders of the Cold War were defined, disputed, and transgressed.

In addition to his historical research, Professor Scott is the author of several publications on contemporary Russia and Eurasia.

https://history.ku.edu/erik-r-scott

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Shifting Symbols of Ethnicity: Armenian Oud Playing in the 1960s and 1970s

By Alyssa Mathias, University of California, Los Angeles

Date: May 25, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

By the mid-1960s, Armenian oud musicians in the United States found themselves at a crossroads. Was their instrument (a pear-shaped fretless lute found across the Middle East) a cherished heirloom connecting diasporan families to lost Western Armenian villages? Or was its sound simply too Turkish to be enjoyed in a new political climate focused on genocide recognition? As families retired their ouds and put them into storage, a few young children nonetheless aspired to learn the instrument. This talk, which draws on both ethnographic and archival research, discusses what it was like to learn the oud at such a significant moment of social, cultural, and political change.

Alyssa Mathias is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has conducted research on Armenian music in the United States, Russia, Turkey, and Armenia. In 2015, she was awarded the Historical Ethnomusicology Section Student Paper Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. A violinist and singer, Alyssa performs a wide variety of music from Europe and the Middle East.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Pioneers of Georgian Studies in the United States

By Paul Crego, U.S. Library of Congress

Date: May 18, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Summary: We Americans who have studied Georgian remain a fairly small number. Who were our predecessors? In this paper I will discuss some of these people, including Jeremiah Curtain, Harvard College Class of 1863 and the much more well known Robert Pierpont Blake. Included also will be their adventures in Georgia.

Paul Crego is a Senior Cataloging Specialist at the United States Library of Congress. He has a PhD in Theology from Boston College and an MA from the Soviet Union program, and has studied Georgian since 1977.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Being Cool in Tbilisi: Musical Taste and Scene Building on Social Media

By Brigita Sebald, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Date: April 27, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Georgian popular music is defined by the absence of a supporting music industry, which complicates production and distribution. This lack of infrastructure raises many questions for music scholars, for whom popular music and the music industry are two sides of the same coin. How can an audience hear this music without a distribution system? Who determines which genres circulate? How do they circulate? How do songs become popular? How do musicians earn money?

This talk will examine the formation of the Georgian music scene through the exchange of digital files online. Musicians become popular on social media when Georgians use them to indicate social standing, education, and wealth to their peers. Previous interview respondents stated that elites patronize classical music and jazz; upwardly mobile professionals and sophisticated students prefer classic rock, grunge, and electronica; and rural youths enjoy pop and rap. Given that the Soviet class system was dismantled only twenty years ago, such statements may indicate not only current musical tastes, but a shift from a class-less socialist society towards one stratified by education and wealth. I further hypothesize that Georgians build taste-based communities through the exchange of music online. Georgians spend time examining the social media profiles of their acquaintances, including the music videos displayed there, and if a person’s choices resonate particularly well with those of the viewer, a new friendship might form based on similar musical tastes. When the process of scoping each other out is repeated widely, social groups form and become a music scene. If the Georgian music industry is to rebound from the end of both state sponsorship and the informal economy, a strong audience must be cultivated to support local musicians. Such rejuvenation could only come from an active music scene, and thus online circulation becomes a crucial step in the development of Georgian popular music.

Brigita Sebald is a lecturer at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She received a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2013 and holds MA degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. Her fieldwork in Tbilisi, which concerns the circulation of popular music on social media, was funded by fellowships from Fulbright I.I.E, the US State Department, the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies, and the UCLA International Institute.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Countering Violent Extremism

By Naida Chamilova, Hedayah

Date: April 20, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), is an independent, international, apolitical and non-ideological ‘think-and-do tank’ based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, that is focused on reducing the threat of violent extremism by preventing and countering processes of radicalization and recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters. It focuses its efforts on CVE through capacity-building programs, research and analysis, and dialogue and communication.

Hedayah is an initiative of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and was launched in December 2012 at the Third GCTF Ministerial Meeting in Abu Dhabi where 29 governments and the European Union endorsed its mission and mandate at the Foreign Minister level. It continues to closely collaborate with governments at the senior level, but also works with non-governmental organizations, civil society, religious and community leaders, academia and the private sector.

Naida Chamilova is in charge of managing the EU-funded STRIVE Global Program and joined Hedayah in May 2015. She has a background in history, social studies (Dagestan State University) and education (Queens University, Canada) while also holding a PhD in Education with a focus on cross-cultural problems. She has worked as an educator, program manager, and strategic analyst. Prior to joining Hedayah, Naida was a Senior Program Manager with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada.

For more on Hedayah see their web site at http://www.hedayah.ae/

Details about the Hedayah-implemented STRIVE program is athttps://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/strive-brochure-20150617_en.pdf

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Surfing the post-Soviet web with style. Text mining post-Soviet de facto states

By Giorgio Comai, Dublin City University

Date: April 6, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Scholars working on the post-Soviet space frequently refer to web contents at different stages of their research process. However, they (we) usually approach the internet as an inordinate mass of contents, that can be superficially explored thanks to search engines and meaningful keywords. This is partially due to lack of technical skills, as well as the unavailability of relevant, pre-existing datasets. Both obstacles are not insurmountable. A research question involving a well-defined territory, institution or community may benefit of a structured analysis of the textual contents of a specific website, a section of a website, or a limited number of websites. Such analysis may allow both “to find the needle and to describe the haystack”, allowing to proceed with fieldwork and established qualitative research methods with more confidence.

This talk presents the author’s experience with creating textual datasets related to Georgia and post-Soviet de facto states, and his attempts at answering questions such as: When exactly did it become common to refer to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied territories”? Why “occupation” and not “annexation”? And what do authorities in post-Soviet de facto states talk about? Is there anything unusual about it?

Giorgio Comai is a PhD researcher at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, and a member of the Marie Curie ITN network “Post-Soviet tensions”. MA in East European Studies and degree in Political Science from the University of Bologna. Exchange student at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland, and Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, Russia. From 2009 to 2013, he was regional editor and researcher at Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso. He has carried out research for the Institute for Central-Eastern and Balkan Europe of Bologna University. He is member of the board of directors of Asiac, Italy’s academic association for the study of Central Asia and the Caucasus. His research has focused on youth policies in Russia and on de facto states in the post-Soviet space.

website: http://giorgiocomai.eu/

twitter: @giocomai

Selected publications:

Ó Beacháin, Donnacha, Giorgio Comai and Ann Tsurtsumia-Zurabashvili (2016, forthcoming), “The secret lives of unrecognised states: Internal dynamics, external relations, and counter-recognition strategies.” Small Wars & Insurgencies [ISSN 1743-9558]

Comai, Giorgio, and Bernardo Venturi (2015), “Language and Education Laws in Multi-Ethnic de Facto States: The Cases of Abkhazia and Transnistria.” Nationalities Papers 43 (6): 886–905. doi:10.1080/00905992.2015.1082996.

Comai, Giorgio (2015), “Post-Soviet de Facto States Online.” In Digital Eastern Europe, edited by William Schreiber and Marcin Kosienkowski. Wrocław: KEW.

Comai Giorgio (2013), “Sovereignty Conflicts and Minority Protection: the Case of Abkhazia” in Self-determination and sovereignty in Europe, Angelo Longo, Ravenna. [ISBN 9788880637608]

Comai Giorgio (2012), “Youth Camps in Post-Soviet Russia and the Northern Caucasus: The Cases of Seliger and Mashuk 2010”, Anthropology of East Europe Review 30, N. 1, pp. 184–212. [ISSN 1054-4720]

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: One Fish, Two Fish… Sampling and Data Collection for Fisheries in the Bering Sea

By Lucy Flynn

Date: March 30, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Two million metric tons of groundfish are harvested annually in the American Bering Sea, constituting a significant proportion of the world’s fish production. In order to ensure that these fisheries continue to produce harvests in the long term, the fishery management agency needs to collect reliable biological data. The agency accomplishes this by deploying observers aboard commercial fishing boats; these biologists live and work with the fishing crews to collect the necessary data. Having worked as an observer for the past two years, I will give an outline of the sampling methods used and the data collected. This talk will be accessible to general audiences, and will not require extensive knowledge of fisheries or biology.

Lucy Flynn completed her master’s degree in fisheries science at the University of Washington in 2005. She is generally fascinated with the processes of data collection and data utilization in all fields of study, and thoroughly enjoyed her time at CRRC Georgia working on the collection of public opinion data.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: The Deportation of the Balkars in 1944 and the Effects of this Narrative on the Current Socio-Political Situation in Kabardino-Balkaria

By Frederico Salvati, Liaison Officer, European Caucasus House (EUCASA)

Date: March 23, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

This project investigates the relation between the events of the Balkar deportation in 1944 and today’s Balkar ethnic identity in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic in the North Caucasus. It focuses on both the nature of such identity and how this has been influenced by the social narratives connected with the deportation. There is a general lack of literature on the topic, despite the fact that this is an important hallmark to understand better the rivalry between the Kabardinians and the Balkars and the possible security issues stemming from this enmity.

Federico Salvati graduated with a degree inin international relations from Sapienza University in Italy in 2015. He specializes in conflict theory and international politics. In Italy he has been working with several research centers and served as an external consultant for the High Center of Defense Studies in Rome. In Georgia, Federico is currently working on peacebuilding with a strong interest in conflict narratives and behavioural theories.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Georgian Alpinism and Soviet Tourism at the Edge of Empire

By Ben Bamberger, University of Illinios at Urbana-Champaign and ARISC Fellow

Date: March 16, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The 1923 ascent of Kazbegi under the leadership of Georgian scientist Giorgi Nikoladze marked both the first major Soviet summit and the beginning of a dedicated Georgian alpinist community. In the pre-war period, Georgian alpinists were an integral part of the burgeoning Soviet alpinist community, accomplishing many of the first victories of Soviet alpinism. At the same time, the relationship between Georgian alpinists and Soviet sporting authorities was often a tense one, and Georgian alpinists regularly came into conflict with sport and tourism institutions in Moscow, with Georgian alpinists openly complaining about problems with Russian chauvinism and the centralization of control. These complaints were strikingly similar to those made by Georgian tourist officials who argued that tourists in the Caucasus often saw themselves as more advanced representatives from the “center” searching for an exotic “periphery.”

Ben Bamberger is a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.. His research interests include Georgian mountaineering, Soviet nation-building, and Soviet tourism to the Caucasus. Ben received his B.A. in history and economics at American University (Washington, D.C.). After graduation, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Georgia. As Ben furthers his studies, he hopes to conduct research in both Moscow and Tbilisi, ultimately incorporating Russian and Georgian sources into a dissertation about Soviet nationbuilding projects in Georgia, and the ways the local Georgians negotiated and understood these policies.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: The Making of Dinamo Tbilisi, Lavrenty Beria and the NKVD

By David Jishkariani, Tbilisi State University and SOVLAB

Date: March 9, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The Dinamo Tbilisi football club was founded in 1925. Beginning as an amateur organization, it evolved into a professional club and became a symbol of the Georgian nation. Lavrenty Beria, the head of the Secret Police and later First Secretary of the Georgian SSR, was himself a fan of football and quite an able player. Under his political and financial support, the Tbilisi footballers became the champions of the USSR. Tbilisi Dinamo thus is not only a sports club, but an important part of the history of Georgia in the 20th century. Many football players worked in the secret police (the NKVD), and many of them went on to become “successful” perpetrators of the Great Terror, enjoying all of the privileges of the Soviet system. The Party elite was involved in the everyday life of Dinamo Tbilisi, controlling finances, discussing plans and strategies, and demanding victory in matches and championships. All of this changed with the death of Beria in 1953, when Tbilisi Dinamo lost its patron and supporter in the Kremlin. This talk is based on archival research in various archives in Georgia, as well as on oral histories from former football players.

One of the founders of SOVLAB: the Soviet Past Research Laboratory, David Jishkariani graduated from Tbilisi State University with a degree in history in 2008 and received an MA in Russian Studies at TSU in 2010. In 2013-14 he was an invited scholar in the Department of Russian and East European Studies at Warsaw University. His sphere of interests includes the Great Purges of the USSR in 1937-38, Georgian nationalism in the Soviet Union, industrialization during the Soviet period, and ethnic deportations from the Georgian SSR.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Identity Styles and Parenting Dimensions in the Georgian Context

By Nino Skhirtladze, Researcher, D. Uznadze Institute of Psychology, Ilia State University

Date: March 2, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

This talk will discuss strategies of personal identity formation in the Georgian context and their association with parenting dimensions. By using a quantitative model of identity styles, the research shows that Georgian young adults’ approaches to identity issues are different from those observed in Western European and US samples. The links between identity styles and parenting dimensions, studied through SEM analysis, also revealed some differences. The results will be discussed in terms of the specific Georgian context.

Nino Skhirtladze received her Master’s degree in personality psychology from Tbilisi State University. In 2015 she received a PhD in psychology at Ilia state University. The topics of her research interests are personal identity formation, micro and macro contextual influences on identity formation, and the influence of intercultural exchange on personal identity formation. In her research she uses quantitative and qualitative models and methodologies.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: Mass Graves of Victims of Soviet Repressions of 1921-1953 in Tbilisi

By Irakli Khvadagiani, SOVLAB and Ilia State University

Date: February 17, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

From 2005-2009 Irakli Khvadagiani was a student of Tbilisi State University on the Faculty of Social and Political Studies specializing in journalism.

Since 2010 he has been studying on the Faculty of Doctoral and Master’s Programs at Ilia State University specializing in the Caucasus in European and Global Context.

The spheres of his interests are: the latest history of the Caucasus, the 1920s; the Georgian Democratic Republic of 1918-21; the history of Caucasian emigration. In the future he plans to research the history of Georgian anti-Soviet movement and Georgian emigration in the 1920s.

Irakli Khvadagiani joined the activities of SOVLAB during Soviet Past Research Laboratory project “Red Terror Topography” and has since taken active part in the research process. Since 2011 he has been member of board of Soviet Past Research Laboratory.

http://sovlab.ge/node/495

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Reading Group in Tbilisi!

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) Georgia Branch invites you to a Reading Group in Tbilisi!

Reading:

“Flight from the USSR” by Dato Turashvili

Reading is also available on the following link: http://lit.ge/წიგნი/Dato_Turashvili/Flight_from_the_USSR/396

Date: Friday, 19 February, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: 3/5 Cholokashvili St., Ilia State University, E Campus (near Vake Park), room # E236 (ARISC Office)

The group will read Chapters IV-V from the book during the session and discuss the topics covered. Reading the chapter in advance is not required.

*** This event is free and open to the public. If you are interested to join, please email: Georgia”at”arisc.org. The reading and discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends.

The Reading group brings Georgian and international scholars together in an informal setting to discuss and explore the literature about Georgia and the South Caucasus.

*****

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.

WiP: “War, Drugs and the Post-Soviet Era”

By Dessa Bergen-Cico, Syracuse University, Visiting Fulbright Scholar

Date: February 17, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

This talk will examine the historical and current connections between the Cold War, drugs and the Post-Soviet era with an emphasis on Georgia. War and drugs escalate in response to one another. Drugs are used as strategic tools of war; they are trafficked and sold to fund insurgent groups, and to numb survivors and society from the traumatic aftermath.

Dr. Bergen-Cico is a visiting Fulbright Scholar from the U.S., and currently teaches in the Addiction Studies Program at Ilia State University. Dessa holds a research appointment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders. She is a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher. Her areas of teaching and research focus on: a.) alcohol, other drugs, and addictive behaviors; b.) traumatic stress and the impact of exposure to violence on the development of addictive behaviors; and c.) the use of mindfulness-based practices for prevention and recovery from trauma and addiction. Dr. Bergen-Cico has over 30 scholarly publications and is the author of the book War and Drugs: The Role of Military Conflict in the Development of Substance Abuse.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Europeanization of Security Policy in Georgia”

By Zurab Bezhanishvili, Independent Researcher

Date: February 10, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The project aims to answer the following questions: how do the processes of Europeanization work in contemporary Georgia? What kind of problems the processes of Europeanization create for the Georgian National Security? Is there a strategy for Georgia to overcome all its` local, national, regional and global threats without international support? What kind of tactical actions for solving the different kinds of threats in Georgia can strength positive sides of the processes of Europeanization in Caucasian Area and strengthen the EU integration processes as well?

Zurab Bezhanishvili has MA in Public Administration from Moscow State University. He has experience in working in NGO sector on security issues. Currently, he is an independent researcher working on Europeanization and security issues.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Compatibility of Academic Program Outcomes with Labor Market Demands in Social Sciences”

By Diana Lezhava, Center for Social Sciences and ARISC, and Mariam Amashukeli, Center for Social Sciences

Date: February 3, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The present report was prepared within the the project of Center for Social Sciences “Higher Education programs’ effectiveness in carrier development: compatibility of Social Science academic programs outcomes with the labor market requirements”, conducted in 2014-2015 with the financial support of Open Society Georgia Foundation. The study aimed at determining the compatibility of academic programs in Social Sciences with the labor market demands in order to identify how important the academic programs are for career development in Georgia, what is the relation between the effectiveness of academic programs and the employment of university graduates, to what extent they are prepared for satisfying the labor market demands.

Diana Lezhava is an administrative director at CSS, as well as a resident director of ARISC Georgia Branch. She has been working on higher education since 2010. In 2012-2014 she worked at Tbilisi State University and administered TSU Institute of Gender Studies (2012-2013), as well as TSU Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (2013-2014). Her research interests include higher education and education policy.

Mariam Amashukeli cooperates with CSS since 2012. She holds BA in Sociology (2005-2009, TSU) and MA in Anthropology-Interdisciplinary Research (2009-2011, TSU). In summer 2011 Mariam has founded the initiative group “Young Supporters for Social Change in Georgia” and implemented the project “Gender-based Violence is a Social Problem”. In the Course of the project Young Supporters was oriented to activate Georgian youth discourse towards Gender Equality issues. In 2015 she worked at National Assessment and Examination Center. Her research interests include gender equality, higher education.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

WiP: “Nomen est omen: Renaming of places in the minority inhabited areas of Georgia”

By Maria Diego Gordon, ECMI

Date: February 3, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The changes of the names of ethnic minority villages have been for a long time raised as issue which was accompanying process of nation-state building in Georgia since its independence. This presentation analyzes the relation between the naming and re-naming of places and the changing political attitudes towards ethnic minorities since 1918 in Georgia. To accomplish this, the research focused on six of the municipalities of the Kvemo Kartli and Samkhtse Javakheti, specifically the ones where ethnic minorities make up more than the 50% of the population.

Maria Diego Gordon is a researcher at the ECMI Caucasus. She holds a bachelor degree in Journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid and spent a year in Sciences Po – Paris, where she got the chance to deepen her knowledge in international relations. She specializes in nationalism, minority and identity issues, and their interaction with the ruling elites of a country, as well as their impact in its symbolic landscape, especially in Eurasian and Caucasus regions.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

FSG: “My Grandmother” (1929)

Within the series of Film Study Group, ARISC Georgia Branch invites you to screening of Georgian silent movie “My Grandmother” (1929) by Kote Mikaberidze.

Date: January 22, 2016 at 18:30
Venue: 32 Chavchavadze Ave., Ilia State University, A Campus, room A101

The movie screening will be followed by discussion with the invited speaker, Ms. Salome Tsopurashvili, Doctoral Candidate in Gender Studies, Tbilisi State University.

The topic of discussion: “Socio-political context and critics of soviet bureaucracy.”

The film has English subtitles. The discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends.

Salome Tsopurashvili is a doctoral candidate at the International PhD Program in Gender Studies at Tbilisi State University. She also teaches two courses: Feminist Literary Criticism and Gender in Visual Arts in the Gender Studies MA Program. Her research interests include feminist film theories, Soviet and silent films, visual arts, literary theories and criticism.

*****
This event is free and open to the public. If you are interested to join, please email: Georgia”at”arisc.org.

The film study group aims to brings Georgian and international society together in an informal setting to discuss and explore the Georgian, as well as South Caucasian cinema.

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.

WiP: State Building symbolism in the tourist architecture of Post-‘Rose Revolution’ Batumi, Georgia

By Suzy Harris-Brandts, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date: January 20, 2016, at 18:30
Venue: American Councils Georgia, Chavchavadze 35A, II floor.

The coastal Black Sea city of Batumi has a rich history of tourism, attracting national and international visitors alike. Following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’, however, a new epoch in the trajectory of Batumi’s tourism development emerged, one marked by rapid modern construction projects and the erasure of large parts of the city’s existing urban fabric. In turn, the very nature of what had symbolized a sense of local identity in the built environment of Batumi has been dramatically altered and rewritten. Despite the abundance of tourism-driven construction taking place across the cities of the former Soviet Union, few studies have examined the relationship between post-socialist urban iconographies of nationalism and state building tourism development. This work attempts to help fill the gap by integrating first-hand qualitative research on Batumi’s transformation since 2003 with historical architectural and urban planning analysis and a synthesis of literature on tourism, state building, and identity studies. Providing an overview of this work in its early stages, the presentation will situate the state building iconographies of Batumi’s new buildings within the broader context of national symbolism in architecture- as it has emerged across the former Soviet Union and relative to similar trends in post-colonial nation states of the 1960s. In doing so, it focuses attention on two related questions. First, what is the relationship between iconographies of tourism and iconographies of state building in architecture and urban design? Second, how has this relationship come specifically to reflect and redefine the identity of the contemporary Georgian city of Batumi?

Suzy Harris-Brandts is a PhD student in Urban Studies and Planning at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her work examines state building iconography in the architecture of post-Rose Revolution Georgia. She is further interested in how such construction is impacting the existing protracted conditions of IDP urban settlement via forms of secondary displacement. Prior to her doctoral studies, Suzy was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture in Canada. Trained as an architect, she has worked at design practices across the globe, including in Toronto, Vancouver, London, the West Bank and Abu Dhabi.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Reading Group in Tbilisi!

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) Georgia Branch invites you to a Reading Group in Tbilisi!

Reading:

“Flight from the USSR” by Dato Turashvili

Reading is also available on the following link: http://lit.ge/წიგნი/Dato_Turashvili/Flight_from_the_USSR/396

Date: Friday, 15 January, 2016, at 18:00
Venue: 3/5 Cholokashvili St., Ilia State University, E Campus (near Vake Park), room # E236 (ARISC Office)

The group will read Chapter II from the book during the session and discuss the topics covered. Reading the chapter in advance is not required.

*** This event is free and open to the public. If you are interested to join, please email: Georgia”at”arisc.org. The reading and discussion language is English. Feel free to join and invite your friends.

The Reading group brings Georgian and international scholars together in an informal setting to discuss and explore the literature about Georgia and the South Caucasus.

*****

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.

 

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