Speakers: Naomi Caffee, Assistant Professor of Russian and Humanities at Reed College and Robert Denis, an independent scholar based in Tbilisi
Date & Time: June 6, 2019, 16:00-18:00
Location: Media Initiatives Center, 3 Arshakunyats Ave., 3rd Floor, Yerevan
Caricature in the South Caucasus
Oskar Schmerling (1863-1938) was an artist from Tbilisi, Georgia, who played a decisive role in the development of nationalist discourses in the South Caucasus in the final years of the Russian Empire. As an outsider to the region’s major ethnic groups, he was in a unique position to move with ease between them, and this paved the way for a prolific career publishing caricatures and political cartoons in the Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Russian press. With an iconic style that is recognized to this day and identified with the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia of the South Caucasus, Schmerling’s work appeared primarily in satirical periodicals, providing a powerful visual component to hotly debated issues surrounding language policy, religious identities, Russian cultural and political hegemony, economic development of the region, and more. Until now, however, Schmerling’s work has received only fragmented attention, confined to the boundaries of national traditions in isolation. In this presentation we will discuss a collective project we have undertaken with scholars in Georgia, Russia, and the United States, to create a digital collection of Schmerling’s work from across several different periodicals and languages. Through a comparative analysis of caricatures from Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani periodicals, we aim to emphasize the diversity and interconnectivity of print cultures in the pre-revolutionary South Caucasus, and to highlight the role of satirical illustration as a tool for anti-colonial resistance and the self-fashioning of national identities in a multicultural context.
Funding provided by Reed College and the NCEEER Title VIII Fellowship
Content provided by the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia
To attend please register by sending an email firstname.lastname@example.org by June 5.
This event is hosted by Media Initiatives Center and sponsored by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC).
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