The Art of Nation-Building:The Politics of National Culture in Soviet Azerbaijan

Isabelle Kaplan
Howard University, Washington DC
ARISC Fellow

Date & time: Monday, June 19, 2023, 10:30-11:30 AM

Venue: Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts, 39 Inshaatchilar Avenue, Baku

Overview: The Art of Nation-Building examines the production and consumption of national culture in Stalin-era Azerbaijan. With a focus on highly orchestrated cultural events such as the Dekada of Azerbaijani National Art (1938) and the 800th Anniversary of Nizami Gandzhevi (1947), it argues that the interlocking processes of producing and consuming art presented as “national” were central to the Azerbaijani nation-building project in ways that were and were not in line with Moscow-issued policy.

Speaker: Isabelle Kaplan received her Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University in 2017, having written a dissertation on the cultural history of Azerbaijan in the Stalin period. In addition to Georgetown, she has taught at George Washington University and the University of Maryland-College Park. In the fall she will be teaching in the Russian Studies program at Howard University in Washington, DC. Dr. Kaplan is also an ARISC Fellow who had been awarded the ARISC Junior Research Fellowship, which is supported with a grant from the US Department of Education.

This event is sponsored by the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) and hosted by Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts. Lectures are free and open to the public. Learn more at

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