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Armenia

We, The Scholarly Subjects: Theory as Daily (Political) Practice

Speaker: Dr. Nelli Sargsyan, Marlboro College
Date & Time:
August 21, 2018, 12:00-13:30
Location: CRRC-Armenia office, Room 602, 6th floor, YSU Library building, 1 Alex Manoogian street
Language: English (discussions following the lecture may be held in Armenian)

OVERVIEW
Where do our theoretical approaches and daily lives meet? How do the socioeconomic and political circumstances in which we live and work as scholars animate our research and vice versa? What would it mean to live in our daily lives the theories we value in our analyses? How do various systems of power operate in our own scholarly work? And how can we do research without reproducing them? These are some of the questions which will be covered in this interactive lecture. Participants are invited to reflect on their theoretical and methodological work as social scientists.

TARGET GROUP
The lecture is intended for junior faculty members, graduate students and researchers in social sciences. The event is open to the general public.

PRESENTER’S SHORT BIO
Nelli Sargsyan is currently assistant professor of anthropology at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont. Through իր most recent research Sargsyan continues to learn alongside and from Armenian feminists’ important political work toward a life of collective care. Նրա individual work on different kinds of feminist political work has appeared in journals such as Feminist Formations and Armenian Review, and online platforms such as Socioscope. Նրա collaborative work on different forms of violence and working together to counter it has appeared on online platforms such as ARTMargins and Public Seminar.

PARTICIPATION
To attend please register by sending an email at event@crrc.am by August 20, 23:59.

This event is hosted by the Caucasus Research Resource Center-Armenia Foundation and sponsored by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). Funding for this lecture comes from a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

“Mugham and Armenian Music: Preliminary Perspectives”

Jonathan Hollis, PhD student
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
ARISC Fellow

DATE: August 7, 2018
TIME: 12:00pm
LOCATION: Eurasia University, Azatutyun 24/2, Room 419, Yerevan, Armenia

Music has been an important part of national narratives in the Caucasus, from the polyphonic vocal tradition of Georgia, the iconic Lezginka of the Northern Caucasus, to the classical mugham of Azerbaijan. In Armenia, national musical narratives have concentrated on the songs of ashughs such as Sayat Nova and Jivani, folk songs and dances transcribed by Komitas Vardapet, and the pre-eminent national instrument, the duduk. My project seeks to explore connections and collaborations between Armenian and Azeri musicians before the Nagorno-Karabakh war, current attitudes toward mugham in Armenia and how the musical materials and practices of mugham have influenced Armenian music historically. As part of this project, I will interview Armenian musicians, some of whom grew up in Azerbaijan, who still practice and teach mugham improvisation. It is my goal to use the life histories of Armenian mugham musicians to further understand connections between musical genres and ethnic communities in conflict in the South Caucasus.

Jonathan Hollis is a PhD Student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an ARISC Fellow. Jonathan’s research focuses on music in the global Armenian community. His Master’s project involves music-making in the Armenian diaspora community of Toronto, Canada, and the musical manifestations of politics and collective memory. He has received Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships to study both Russian and Eastern Armenian.

This event is free and open to the public. The event is hosted by Eurasia International University and sponsored by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC).

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.

Eurasia International University and ARISC invite to a Workshop
How to Develop New Courses that Work
Syllabus design for a democratic classroom

Speaker: Professor Anna Ohanyan, Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Stonehill College
Date: June 27th, 2018, Wednesday 12 AM- 5 PM
Place: Eurasia International University Azatutyan 24/2 Yerevan
Registration DEADLINE: June 20
Register sending an email entitled “Workshop” to info@eiu.am

This workshop introduces the basics, as well as the latest and cutting-edge research on syllabi development and curricular design. Understanding the purpose of a syllabus in structuring teacher-student relationships, and strengthening transparency, accountability and assessment dimensions of the teaching process are some of the issues to be covered. Importantly, the workshop will also focus on the markers of an effective syllabus, particularly in the context of increasingly globalized higher education processes. This interactive workshop will engage the participants in break-out sessions, giving them an opportunity to develop and enhance their own syllabi, for fields in natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
More info is available at www.eiu.am and www.arisc.org

Funding for this workshop comes from a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

CRRC-Armenia and ARISC invite to a public presentation on “Home country engagement: some early results from the Armenian Diaspora Survey”

to be delivered by Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Ph.D., St. John’s University

Date & Time: June 19, 2018, 12:00-13:30
Location: CRRC-Armenia office, Room 602, 6th floor, YSU Library building, 1 Alex Manoogian street
Language: English

OVERVIEW
National diasporas have long since been argued as potential “first-movers” in their home countries’ economic development. This presentation will cover some preliminary results from the Armenian Diaspora Survey, which ran between December 2015 and April 2018. The intention is attempt to explore a range of diverse modalities of diaspora-home model engagement in post-socialist Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union, with Armenia as specific example. Much of anonymous responses on willingness to engage with historical homeland stand in contrast to popular opinion polls or hypothetical conclusions by extrapolation. Initial evidence suggests a range of non-monetary opportunities, e.g. volunteering, teaching, knowledge-sharing, arts projects, etc.
Specific survey questions ask about respondents’ birthplace and current residence, years of residence, etc. That helps determine the diasporan-age, which appears to be one of the critical explanatory factors in the model. That then further informs the earlier distinction between the “old” and the “new” diaspora. Such distinctions appear to be relevant in evaluating effectiveness of various engagement models. The lessons from the survey, while specific to Armenia, are relevant for other small transition economies.
There will be a question and answer session after the presentation.

TARGET GROUP
The presentation is addressed to faculty members, students, junior researchers and professionals working in the field of migration and diaspora studies. The event is open to the general public.

PARTICIPATION

To attend please register by sending an email at event@crrc.am until June 18, 23:59.

Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Finance of the Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, a Research Fellow at the Center for Global Business Stewardship, and a Board Member at the Armenian Economic Association. Dr. Gevorkyan also serves as Economics Subject Matter Expert for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See To the United Nations. His research focuses on open economy macroeconomics, development, international financial economics, and post-socialist transition economics. Dr. Gevorkyan is the author of Transition Economies: Transformation, Development, and Society in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Routledge, 2018); and co-editor (with Otaviano Canuto) of Financial Deepening and Post-Crisis Development in Emerging Markets (Palgrave, 2016).

Funding for this lecture comes from a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) invites you to a presentation by ARISC Fellow Stephen Riegg:
“Imperial Battlegrounds: The Second Russo-Persian War (1826-28) in Regional Context.”

LOCATION: 42 Tumanyan St, Yerevan 0002, Armenia; Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences (YSULS) Central building, 2nd floor, Small Hall
DATE: June 8, 2018
TIME: 14:00

The Second Russo-Persian war resulted in the Romanov Empire’s annexation of the South Caucasus, including Eastern Armenia. This presentation examines the motivations and objectives of the Russian state, highlighting the cooperation and resistance of indigenous nations in that imperial confrontation. From the start of the conflict, the theme of a clash of religions informed the perspective of senior tsarist commanders in the Caucasus. The complex interethnic climate of the region dictated the course of the war and affected its resolution.

About the speaker:
Trained in Russian history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stephen B. Riegg is an Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University. Having nearly completed his first book manuscript, “Partners in the Caucasus: The Russian Empire’s Encounter with Armenians, 1801-1914,” he is turning toward a new project, “In the Imperial Vise: The South Caucasus between Russia and Persia, 1785-1917.” His work has appeared, or will appear, in the journals “The Russian Review” and “ Nationalities Papers”. His research and writing have been supported by the Fulbright-Hays program, American Councils for International Education, the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus.

 

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) presents:
Infinite Armenias: Digital Storytelling as Cultural Heritage Preservation

LOCATION: 15 Charents Str., 0025, Yerevan, Armenia; 3rd floor, Library

DATE: June 2, 2018
TIME: 10:00-17:00

Facilitators:
Tiffany Earley-Spadoni, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Central Florida and ARISC Fellow, Arthur Petrosyan, Researcher and Archaeologist, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography and ARISC Fellow, and Travis Corwin, Archaeologist and Film Maker

Description
Digital storytelling is an incredibly effective way to engage with communities and provoke public interest in heritage preservation through the production of short, multimedia presentations, which is important since Armenian cultural heritage is at risk from a variety of factors ranging from economic development to the privatization of archaeological sites. We are hosting a digital storytelling workshop for cultural heritage professionals in Yerevan with the aim of informing a worldwide audience about the threats that Armenian cultural heritage faces and the efforts that research teams are making to prevent future losses. During the workshop, each participant will produce a three-to-five minute digital short on the topic of opportunities and challenges in cultural heritage management in Armenia. We intend to develop stories in both Armenian and English (with subtitling/captioning) to reach an international audience.

To participate, please email tiffany.earley@ucf.edu for more information.

Tiffany Earley-Spadoni is an archaeologist and historian whose research focuses upon ancient landscapes and complex social processes like warfare. She co-directs excavations as a part of the Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes project, a joint American-Armenian project. Her work has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, and she has a monograph forthcoming with the University Press of Colorado. She received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in 2015. She teaches courses on digital storytelling at the University of Central Florida in her role of Assistant Professor.

Arthur Petrosyan is a researcher and archaeologist at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Republic of Armenia. Petrosyan graduated from the Faculty of Culture at the Armenian State Pedagogical University in 2005, obtaining a degree in Museology and Conservation of Historical Sites. In 2007, Mr. Petrosyan graduated from the Department of Archaeology and Ethnography at the Faculty of History of Yerevan State University, obtaining an MA degree in Archaeology and History. He continued his education at the Faculty of Cultural Heritage and Environment at the University of Milan (Italy) studying the Methodology of Archaeological Research in 2008, then he did another course of Lithic Industry and Experimental Archaeology at the Department of History and Cultural Heritage of the University of Siena (Italy) in 2010. From 2007 to 2010, he pursued his PhD education at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of NAS RA. He co-directs international archaeological field projects and has authored and co-authored numerous scholarly publications.

Travis Corwin holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Central Florida is a professional archaeologist and film maker.

This project is made possible by a Collaborative Heritage Management Grant from the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). Funding for this grant comes from Project Discovery! and private donations.

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) invites you to a presentation by ARISC Fellows:

Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Karnut Cemetery

SPEAKERS: Ruben Badalyan, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography
LOCATION: 15 Charents Str., 0025, Yerevan, Armenia; 3rd floor, Library
DATE: March 21, 2018
TIME: 11:00-12:00

This project contributed to Armenia’s cultural heritage by preserving endangered materials and remains of an Early Bronze Age cemetery in the village of Karnut, located on the eastern edge of the Shirak plain. Three burials were excavated, revealing the remains of multiple successive interments in two tombs dating to the Kura-Araxes I and II periods. In the process of excavating burials, we also revealed a previously unknown part of the Early Bronze Age settlement at Karnut. The project has thus already changed the understanding of the Early Bronze Age occupation at Karnut and contributed to an emerging picture of Early Bronze Age mortuary ritual.  Meanwhile the on-going study of materials and human remains will provide an unprecedented view into Early Bronze Age life. The CHM grant has been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of the cultural preservation of the site for the local residents as well as the scholarly community.

Ruben Badalyan is the head of the Bronze Age Division of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Republic of Armenia. He is a Doctor of Historical Sciences in the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and a Senior Scientific Member of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Yerevan. His habilitation (2003) was entitled: Obsidian of the Caucasus: Sources and Distribution of the Raw Material during the Neolithic – Early Iron Age (on the results of Neutron Activation Analyses) and he continues to work on issues related to the distribution of obsidian and exploitation of sources in the ancient Near East. His Ph.D. dissertation (1986) was entitled: The Early Bronze Age Culture of the Shirak Plain (North-Western Armenia) and a great deal of his subsequent archaeological research has centered on issues relating to the Kura-Araxes phenomenon of the Early Bronze Age.  He has directed or co-directed field investigations at numerous archaeological sites in Armenia including Karnut, Horom, Aratashen, and Tagavoranist. In addition to his on-going work in the Tsaghkahovit Plain with Project ArAGATS, Badalyan is also the director of the ongoing excavations at the Neolithic site of Aknashen. He is the author of numerous papers and articles in several languages.

Maureen E. Marshall is a bioarchaeologist whose work focuses on early complex polities and empires in the South Caucasus and Eurasia. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2014. Dr. Marshall is the Associate Director of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an Associate Director of Project ArAGATS, the joint American-Armenian project for the Archaeology and Geography for Ancient Transcaucasian Societies, and has been excavating in Armenia since 2005. She also collaborates with physical anthropologists in Armenia.  She serves on the advisory board for the Aragats Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Armenia’s cultural heritage through heritage preservation, development, and education. Dr. Marshall’s work has been published in edited volumes on global perspectives in human remains analysis, including Archaeological Human Remains: A Global Perspective in 2014 and The Routledge Handbook of Archaeological Human Remains and Legislation in 2011. Her research interests include political subjectivity, violence in ancient societies, disease and health in ancient populations, the archaeology of Eurasia and the Near East, and the history of physical anthropology.

This event is made possible through Project Discovery! and private donations.

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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Azerbaijan

ARISC in Co-operation with European Partnership Foundation and CRRC Azerbaijan presents:
After the Revolution: Baku and its Oil – 1918-1927

by Jonathan Sicotte
ARISC Fellow, People’s Friendship University of Russia, Georgetown University

Date: 18 July, 2018
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Baku Idea Lab, 44 Jafar Jabbarly street, Caspian Plaza III, 3rd floor

Abstract:

At the foundation of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), it was readily apparent to the Bolsheviks that securing the physical resources of the former Russian Empire was necessary for the future survival of the nascent Soviet state. The invasion and destruction of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan and the nationalization of its oil industry, primarily centered around Baku in 1920, largely filled the limited needs of the Soviet domestic market, and by 1924, produced enough benzene, at least on paper, to provide a readily exportable surplus for the Ministerstvo vneshne torgovli (Ministry of Foreign Trade (MVT)). Nevertheless, despite the initial successes of the industry, a set of compounding structural fiscal issues complicated Soviet planning as the continued to push they exportation of refined oil products to compensate for growing trade deficits exacerbated by the importation of Western machinery.
This paper is part of an exploration of the economic and political metamorphosis of Soviet policy toward petroleum exportation, specifically from the period directly after the October Revolution. The purpose of this investigation is to explore the correlation between the healthy recovery of Baku’ oil industry after 1918, shifts in broader Soviet policy during the early years of New Economic Plan (NEP) and the later ramification for Soviet trade policy as Baku’s oil industry began to see declining rents from oil fields.

Speaker’s bio:

Jonathan Sicotte is currently a post-doctoral fellow at People’s Friendship University of Russia and a former post-doctoral fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Recently Dr. Sicotte received a PhD in Russian and Soviet History at Georgetown University in 2017 and previously received a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.

* 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 Presentation in Baku “Hounds and Jackals and Fifty-Eight Holes: Ancient Mesopotamian Board Games in Azerbaijan?”

Walter Crist
Arizona State University, American Museum of Natural History, ARISC member

Date: April 16, 2018
Time: 11 AM
Venue: 115 Huseyn Javid Ave, Archaeology Institute of ANAS

This event is sponsored by ARISC and hosted by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of ANAS.

Abstract:
The game of 58 holes-better known as “Hounds and Jackals”- was a popular game in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the wider Near East during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Though its origins are unclear, it is obvious that this game enjoyed wide popularity for a considerable amount of time, and traveled across cultural boundaries, as it has been found in locations including Nubia, Iran, and Anatolia. Now, there is evidence that this game may have been played in ancient Azerbaijan, as well.
Patterns of depressions, found pecked into bedrock as well as on stone slabs, have been found in Eastern Azerbaijan, in the Absheron Peninsula and Gobustan National Park, in particular. This paper will discuss the similarities between these objects and the Near Eastern game of 58 Holes, and discuss possibilities for how it might have gotten there and what social implications games may have had in ancient Azeri society. This paper will draw from previous work in Cyprus, which found that the performative nature of play was emphasized by those who played during peoples of socio-economic complexity.
Through these examples, the importance of studying ancient games will be discussed, and future plans for examining the chronology and archaeological context of games in Azerbaijan will be proposed to address similar questions.

Speaker’s bio:
Walter Crist is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and a Visiting Researcher in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. He received his PhD in 2016 in Anthropology from Arizona State University. His dissertation research focused on board games in Bronze Age Cyprus and changing practices of play alongside increasing socio-economic inequality. His research interests include ancient play, long-distance cultural interaction, trade, and materiality.

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Georgia

2-Day Workshop on Research Design and Research Methods in the Social Sciences

American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) invites early graduate and advanced undergraduate students to participate in a 2-day workshop on “Research Design and Research Methods in the Social Sciences” organized on May 17-18, 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The workshop will be delivered by Eteri Tsintsadze-Maass, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Kentucky, and Richard Maass, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Evansville.

Co-sponsor: American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC), Ilia State University
Dates: 17-18 May 2019
Times: 9:00-3:00 (with lunch break)
Venue: 32 Chavchavadze Ave., Ilia State University, A Block, Room #A101
Working Language: English
Speakers: Eteri Tsintsadze-Maass and Richard Maass

The first day of the workshop aims to help research-oriented students develop their skills in research design, learning to ask interesting research questions, build convincing theories, and develop testable hypotheses through a combination of presentations, facilitated discussions, and interactive exercises. We will discuss the fundamentals of scientific research, dedicating special attention to the scientific method, inference, and transparency, as well as cover common barriers to conducting research in the social sciences and ways of overcoming them. This day will consist of four sections, focusing on (1) asking good research questions, (2) assembling thorough literature reviews, (3) building persuasive theories, and (4) formulating testable hypotheses. Throughout, our discussion will address core principles of research design including policy relevance, falsifiability, scholarly contributions, generalizability, and causal mechanisms.

The second day of the workshop aims to help participants understand the major methodological options available for testing hypotheses in the social sciences and to envision how those methods might be applied in their own research projects. Looking ahead to the writing of a senior thesis, master’s thesis, or doctoral dissertation, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various types of research methods and which types might be best suited to participants’ own research projects. This day will consist of three sections, focusing on (1) qualitative methods, (2) quantitative methods, and (3) mixed methods. While exploring specific research methods such as case study analysis, archival research, linear and logistic regression, and nested analysis, we will address core principles of research methods including case selection, correlation, statistical significance, and the validity and reliability of data.

Maximum number of participants: 20

Minimum requirements for eligibility:

  • Represent a field in the social sciences
  • Be an early graduate student or an advanced undergraduate student
  • Have English-language proficiency

Applicants must submit the following set of documents:

  • Application Form
  • Statement of Interest in English. Please explain your specific interest in research design and research methods, as well as what you hope to get out of the workshop
  • Short (2 page) CV in English with the contact details of one reference.

The applications must be submitted in one combined file (MS Word or PDF) no later than April 25, 2019 via following e-mail address: TbilisiResearchWorkshop@gmail.com

In the subject line of the e-mail, please indicate: “Workshop on Research Design and Research Methods.”

The successful applicants will be notified by April 30, 2019.

For additional details, please contact us via: TbilisiResearchWorkshop@gmail.com

The event is co-sponsored by American Research Institute for the South Caucasus (ARISC). 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: Axmet Tsalykkaty: A Free Mountaineer in Tiflis 1919-1920

By Sarah Slye, University of Cambridge

Date: April 3, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Axmet Tsalykkaty was an Ossetian Muslim and Menshevik. Participating in revolutionary activities in Vladikavkaz in 1905, he later relocated to St. Petersburg where he emerged as a leader among his Mountaineers and Muslims. In February 1917, Tsalykkaty was elected to the Petrograd Soviet and in May made chairman of the All-Russian Central Muslim Soviet. After the October coup, we see him openly criticizing both the Bolsheviks and the Mountaineer political leadership, the latter for cooperating with Cossacks. Following a stint back in the Terek Oblast, Tsalykkaty is forced by the Whites’ takeover of the North Caucasus to flee to Tbilisi. There he edits the weekly Volnyj gorets newspaper, which ran from September 1919 to December 1920. Largely based on the contents of this journal, this presentation provides an analysis of the Tskykkaty’s political and ideological stances as they evolved over the revolution and civil war period in Russia and the Caucasus. It also explores how he reconciled his seemingly contradictory identities.

Sarah Slye is a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Cambridge. She has an MA in Near Eastern Studies and an MA in Russian and Eastern European Studies. Her research focuses on debates surrounding the political future of the Caucasian nationalities during the Russian Revolution and Civil War period. She has two children and resides primarily in Tbilisi.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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.

PRIVACY POLICY: In order to assure the free and open discussion of ideas and sensitive issues, unless otherwise specified the WiP series holds to the Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed, without the explicit permission of said speaker(s) or participant(s) in the press or other public media. Journalists may attend the sessions, but the contents are not for publication or broadcast without the explicit permission of the speaker(s). This is to enable all involved to openly discuss their views in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public and contribute to the broader scholarly and academic conversation.

WiP: Studying Russian-Georgian Relations on the Ground: Stereotypes and Challenges

By Archil Sikharulidze, GIPA

Date: March 20, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Since the so-called August War in 2008 Georgia and Russia have no diplomatic relations. Obstacles to communication increase, while information warfare has become a main form of interaction. In the wake of this nearly complete closure of dialogue, analysts and researchers from both countries have few opportunities to conduct field work and other important activities on the ground in each other’s countries. When they are able to conduct such research, they often unexpectedly experience significant challenges and stereotypes that complicate research and dialogue. The goal of this talk is to outline main challenges and stereotypes that Georgian and Russian analysts/researchers face while studying interstate relations in practice and on the ground.

Archil Sikharulidze is a PhD candidate in Social Sciences at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), and is the creator of the SIKHA Foundation

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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.

PRIVACY POLICY: In order to assure the free and open discussion of ideas and sensitive issues, unless otherwise specified the WiP series holds to the Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed, without the explicit permission of said speaker(s) or participant(s) in the press or other public media. Journalists may attend the sessions, but the contents are not for publication or broadcast without the explicit permission of the speaker(s). This is to enable all involved to openly discuss their views in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public and contribute to the broader scholarly and academic conversation.

WiP: “Soul food: The festival of Lipanali in Svaneti”

By Kevin Tuite, Université de Montréal

Date: March 13, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

On the evening of January 18th throughout Svaneti, banquets are laid out for the souls of the family’s ancestors, who are believed to visit their living descendants for a period of several days. The Banquet of the Souls, called Lipānǟli in the Svan language, is one of the few festivals that Svans celebrate when living far from their home villages, and even outside of Georgia. Banquets of the dead are observed elsewhere in the Caucasus (Sultak’repa (the Assembly of the Souls) in the Georgian province of Khevsureti; Badäntä among the Ossetians); and indeed around the world, including the European folk festivals in early autumn that were Christianized as All Souls Day, and commercialized as Halloween.

In this W-i-P talk, Prof. Tuite will describe the Lipanali festival in detail, with special attention to those features which can be compared or contrasted to banquets of the dead elsewhere. His discussion will be based on his own observations of Lipanali in the winters of 2005 and 2019; descriptions of the festival in published collections of Svan-language texts; and recently (re)discovered manuscripts in the archives of Evdokia (“Dina”) Kozhevnikova, a Russian ethnographer who lived in Svaneti in the 1920s and 30s.

Kevin Tuite is full Professor of Anthropology at the Université de Montréal. His special interest is in Caucasian linguistics, and he has occasionally published on the topic of Georgian mythology.

*****
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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.

PRIVACY POLICY: In order to assure the free and open discussion of ideas and sensitive issues, unless otherwise specified the WiP series holds to the Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed, without the explicit permission of said speaker(s) or participant(s) in the press or other public media. Journalists may attend the sessions, but the contents are not for publication or broadcast without the explicit permission of the speaker(s). This is to enable all involved to openly discuss their views in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public and contribute to the broader scholarly and academic conversation.

WiP:  “Why Cross the Conflict Divide? The Success and Failure of Abkhazian de facto Statehood”

By Andrea Peinhopf, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Date: March 6, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Why do some Abkhazians cross to the other side of conflict divide, and how do they experience the encounter with their official ‘enemy’? While observers often stress the lack of engagement between the two conflict parties since the war in 1992-1993, recent years have witnessed an increase in informal cross-border movement. Based on detailed ethnographic data, this presentation explores the motivation and experience of Abkhazians who decided to travel beyond the Ingur/Enguri. What does it tell us about the effectiveness of Abkhazian statehood and the possibility of Georgian-Abkhaz reconciliation?

Andrea Peinhopf is a PhD Candidate in Politics & Anthropology at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. Her research focuses on how ordinary people experience protracted conflict and, in particular, how they reproduce, accommodate or resist the language of nationalism. For her thesis, she spent several months in Abkhazia. She is currently a visiting researcher at Ilia State University.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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: Kicking the Crusaders out of the Caucasus: Deconstructing the Meme that Khevsurs are Descended from a Lost Band of Medieval Christian Knights

By Ryan Sherman, Cornell University

Date: February 20, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

The historical-ethnographic region of Khevsureti on the northern border of Georgia is the home of a group of Kartvelian highlanders known as Khevsurs. As Khevsureti’s popularity as a tourist destination has grown in recent years, so has an old story that held the Khevsurs were the descendants of a band of medieval Crusaders. Despite its paltry and incidental evidence, this story has spread and continues to be taken seriously by many commentators. It has manifested itself in books about the area, newspaper articles, the work of a few scholars, and now much internet discussion. This growing collection of examples has since created the illusion of an unconsolidated quantity of evidence and, for many, the impression of a credible theory or legend, despite having been dismissed as absurd by most scholars. A systematic deconstruction and analysis of this story shows how this set of ideas initially formed and spread based on a few unreliable accounts and dubious details in circulation since the early 19th century. A close analysis of this story not only helps dismantle inaccurate representations of Khevsur cultural heritage but provides an informative case study examining how such a meme forms and propagates itself.

Ryan Michael Sherman has worked in arctic Alaska, the Black Rock Desert, and the Arakan mountains of Myanmar. He studied philosophy and Russian literature as an undergraduate and received his master’s degree in Global Development Studies from Cornell University in 2018. His interests include rural economics, agricultural development, literature, and cultural heritage protection. He lives, works, and writes in Tbilisi and welcomes email at rsherman.ut[at]gmail.com.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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: Informal Politics: The Pitfalls of Field Research

By Vincenc Kopeček, University of Ostrava

Date: February 13, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

There is an increasing scholarly interest in informal politics, particularly among scholars who focus on the post-Soviet area. A number of studies have already analysed various aspects of informal politics in Russia, Ukraine, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, however the students of informalities still face a number of challenges in the fields of theory as well as in methodology. This problem-oriented lecture will focus on selected aspects of field research into informal politics (e.g. non-probability sampling, expert interviews, P. T. Jackson’s analyticism) based on the speaker’s experience of field research in Pankisi, Javakheti, and other regions of the South Caucasus.

Vincenc Kopeček holds a Ph.D. in Political and Cultural Geography from the Department of Human Geography of the University of Ostrava, where he has been teaching as an assistant professor since 2008. In his research, he focuses mainly on ethnic conflicts, de facto states and informal political institutions in the region of the South Caucasus.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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: Oil and armed civil conflict: explaining post-Soviet non-occurrences

By Anar Ahmadov, Leiden University

Date: January 31, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

Extensive literature argues that countries with oil resources face a higher risk of intrastate armed conflict. This finding is based mostly on cross-national econometric tests, which suffer from serious problems of data, measurement, model specification, endogeneity, unit heterogeneity and level of analysis. These problems hamper causal inference from these studies. I show that two major models – by Collier and Hoeffler and Fearon and Laitin – are unsuccessful in both their level and comparative statics predictions of the probabilities of civil war in Central Eurasia. Using detailed maps of overlaid historical conflict and petroleum basin data created through a geographic information system (GIS), I also show problems inherent in using country-level data to make inferences about subnational and micro-level processes. Responding to a call for serious case studies, I test the causal mechanisms derived from the existing scholarship using a small-N comparative process-tracing study of three pairs of oil-rich and oil-poor country cases in Central Eurasia, which differ along a few dimensions. I find that in this set of cases oil wealth did not only not lead to intrastate civil conflict, but also helped rulers to diffuse conflict potential. These findings underscore the importance of developing conditional theories of the “resource curse.”

Anar Kamil Ahmadov (PhD, London School of Economics) is Assistant Professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is broadly trained in political economy, sociology, development studies, and public policy. Prior to joining Leiden, he has held research and teaching positions at Princeton University, Oxford University, and the LSE. Apart from academia, Anar has extensive experience in international development, including heading CRRC’s Azerbaijan office between 2006-2007. His current research interests lie in political and economic inequality, the travel of economic ideas, natural resource governance, migrant political behavior, and conflict studies. His work has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, Energy Policy, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Post-Soviet Affairs, among others.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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: Russkii Mir and the Geopolitics of Ukrainian Autocephaly

By Tornike Metreveli, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Date: January 23, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

On January 6, 2019 the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew signed a decree on autocephaly that allowed Ukraine to have its own canonical independent church. This escalated the dispute between the Russian Orthodox Church and Ecumenical Patriarchate, and at the same time and gave the Russo-Ukrainian conflict a new religious dimension. Based on an ethnographic mixture of participant observation and anthropology of public policy, this project examines the geopolitical significance of Ukrainian autocephaly through the grassroots operationalization of the concept of Russkii Mir (Russian World). What does Russkii Mir mean to the Orthodox Christian communities of Ukraine that took part in the interconfessional changes? How is Russkii Mir practiced in daily life, as opposed to the conflicting ‘Unified State, United Church’ discourse advocated by Ukrainian political elites? Standing at the crossroads of symbolic interactionist and phenomenological traditions, this talk will first scrutinize how the two churches frame the narratives of the categories of practice (e.g. belonging, statehood, identity), and later critically reflect on how those categories of practice are negotiated and modified through a process of interpretation, interaction with the state, and interconfessional competition.

Tornike Metreveli is an International Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of St. Gallen. He received his doctorate in sociology (magna cum laude) from the University of Bern (2017) where he was a Swiss Government’s Excellence Scholarship holder, studying under the supervision of Professor Christian Joppke. Before joining the University of St Gallen, Tornike was a research fellow at Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, the London School of Economics (LSE) and the House of Commons (UK Parliament). Tornike Metreveli is a student of nationalism (MSc in Nationalism Studies from the University of Edinburgh) with research interests in intersection of nationalism and religion in the geographical spaces of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. His current postdoctoral project at the University of St. Gallen brings original insight into the organizational ecology of Orthodox churches, their operational tactics and geopolitical assertions in Ukraine.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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 Transcaucasian Federation (1922-1936), Policies and Politics in the early Soviet Caucasus

By Etienne Peyrat, Sciences Po, France

Date: January 9, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 5 Chkhikvadze Str. (Former 5 Chavchavadze ave.), I floor.

While the creation of a Transcaucasian Federation is generally mentioned in standard histories of Soviet power in the Caucasus, the existence of this strange institution that existed until the new Stalin Constitution (1936) remains little known. Embedded in regional politics and connected to central power games of the 1920s-1930s, the Federation also reveals longer-term trends in Soviet ethno-political strategies. Moreover, as the last significant project of regional integration, it raises questions about identities and solidarities in the South Caucasus.

Etienne Peyrat is an assistant professor in contemporary history in Sciences Po (Paris-Lille, France). He has published on Caucasian, Eastern European and Middle Eastern history. He currently coordinates a project on the history of Soviet federalism and a project on Russian-Kurdish relations in the 19th-21st centuries (RUSKURD : https://ruskurd.hypotheses.org/about).

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. 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.

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Networking Calls

ARISC is organizing teleconferenced networking sessions for scholars of the South Caucasus from around the world. These networking sessions are an informal way for scholars in all stages of their careers to meet and connect with one another on topics of mutual interest and have a chance to discuss issues relevant to their research. Sessions are devoted to broad topics. Attendees begin the session by introducing themselves, the topics of their research interests, and what they hope to discuss with the group during the session. A moderator will lead each discussion.

“Gender Successes and Gender Struggles: Including Gender Dimension into Teaching” with Dr. Joanna Regulska
Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 10:30am – 11:30am EDT (New York time)

“Social Media Use in Academia” with Dr. Ian Lindsay
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 from 11:00am – 12:00pm EDT (New York time)

“Women and Gender in Armenian Studies” with Dr. Houri Berberian
Thursday, June 13, 2019 from 11:00am – 12:00pm EDT (New York time)

Space is limited! Interested participants can reserve their space by emailing info@arisc.org. Please include the title of the session you are interested in attending, your name, contact information, and research interests in the email. Please include a note about what you would like to discuss with the group during the call. Additional information about meeting URL, login, and other details about joining the discussion will be sent in a confirmation email. Participants will need a computer/mobile device with internet connection, speakers/earphones, and microphone. Cameras are optional.

Sessions are free and open to all.

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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USA

Teaching the South Caucasus: A Workshop for College and University Educators

June 18-21, 2019
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invite applications for a pedagogical workshop on integrating the South Caucasus into higher education classrooms. Often overlooked in Western education, the region of the Caucasus is not only a current hotspot for adventure tourism and historically a fault zone for international geopolitics, but is also home to unique cultures and diverse geographies. In a four-day workshop hosted at the University of Illinois’ Summer Research Lab (SRL), workshop attendees will engage with topics on the history, societies, and peoples of the South Caucasus; participate in pedagogical activities; conduct research at the University of Illinois’ world renowned library; and workshop individual projects. Participants will work with scholars specializing in the region who will give lectures, lead discussions and film screenings, share their experiences in the South Caucasus, and facilitate workshops. Themes have been selected for their usefulness to educators interested in integrating the South Caucasus into their courses and classrooms, with a focus on the relationship between the past – factors such as geography, imperial rule, trade routes – and the present.

The workshop is open to college and university educators and advanced graduate students. Community and City College educators are encouraged to apply.

Speakers include Benjamin Bamberger (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Mauricio Borrero (St. John’s University), Cynthia Buckley (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Christopher Condill (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Kathryn Franklin (Birkbeck, University of London), and Stephen Jones (Mount Holyoke College).

Housing, travel, and research stipend funds are available through the Summer Research Lab Title VIII grants.
Applicants are asked to propose a project (e.g. course, lecture, study abroad program, bibliography) that they would like to develop during the workshop to incorporate the South Caucasus.

To apply to the workshop and Title VIII funding, visit: http://reeec.illinois.edu/progr…/summer-research-laboratory/
Application deadline: February 18, 2019

Organized by Dr. Stephen Jones, Dr. Mauricio Borrero, and Talin Lindsay; co-sponsored by ARISC and REEEC; supported by the US Department of Education’s Title VI program, the US Department of State’s Title VIII program, ARISC, REEEC, and the Ralph and Ruth Fisher Endowment.

Co-sponsored Session at the Society for American Archaeology:
“The South Caucasus Region: Crossroads of Societies & Polities. An Assessment of Research Perspectives in Post-Soviet Times”

Saturday, April 13, 2019
1.00 – 4.15pm
17 Apache room

Chairs: Alvaro Higueras, David Berikashvili and Isabelle Coupal

Participants:
1:00 Alvaro Higueras—Research and Heritage Management in the Southern Caucasus: Future Perspectives in Post-Soviet Scenarios

1:15 Ian Lindsay and Alan F. Greene—New Solutions to Old Challenges: Methods and Results from Project ArAGATS’ Kasakh Valley Archaeological Survey (KVAS) Project, Northwestern Armenia (2015-17)

1:30 Vakhtang Licheli—10th Century BC Novelties in the Central Part of Southern Caucasus

1:45 Nathaniel Erb-Satullo—Elite Stronghold or Communal Defense? Investigating a Late Bronze-Early Iron Age Cyclopean Fortress in Kvemo Kartli, Southern Georgia

2:00 Elizabeth Fagan—Everything Old Is New Again: Considerations for Re-examining the Previously Excavated Material of Hellenistic- and Roman-Period Armenia

2:15 Lauren Ristvet—Negotiating Empires: Village Dynamics in Naxcivan, Azerbaijan

2:30 David Berikashvili—Samshvilde and the Medieval Kingdoms of Kartli

2:45 Maureen Marshall—Building Bronze Age Populations of the South Caucasus: Preliminary Bioarchaeological Results from the Kasakh Valley Archaeological Survey

3:00 Aram Yardumian—Archaeology and Genetics in the South Caucasus

3:15 Isabelle Coupal—Modelling the Skeleton of Future Bioarchaeological Research in Georgia

3:30 Benjamin Irvine—Howdy Neighbour –Transgressing Borders and Peering over the Fence to Examine the Application of Isotopic Analyses to Bioarchaeology in Anatolia

4:00 Questions and Answers

Sponsored by IAC, University of Georgia (Tbilisi) and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC)

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