Vol. 3, No. 19 (October 01, 2010)

Nation-building and language policy in post-Soviet Azerbaijan

Social-scientific literature has long accepted the fact that a national language can play an essential role in nation-building.  This role can be positive in terms of state-building: revitalizing a formerly oppressed national language can help a state find a new, independent identity.  However, the role can also be divisive: a state can come into conflict with local minorities by attempting linguistic rationalization—that is, unifying the state under one language. In Azerbaijan, language could have potentially played either role.  On one hand, Azerbaijan was—and remain...
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Ethnic relations in the schools of Azerbaijan during the crises of 1905 and 1918

The political crises of 1905 and 1918 affected all institutions of Azerbaijani society, none more than the schools, as recently opened materials in the Azerbaijan National Archive show.  In both years, students met, organized, staged protests and submitted petitions calling for “freedom of thought” and “freedom of assembly within the walls of the school.”  And those protests in turn had an impact not only on the quality of education the students at that time were receiving but also on the emergence of a distinctly Azerbaijani elite, one that viewed its own culture and i...
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Iran becoming a major player in the South Caucasus

For most of the post-Soviet period until recently, Iran played a relatively restricted role in the South Caucasus either because Tehran was focused on other regions and issues or, more often than not, because both the major powers and the countries of that region had their own reasons for excluding Iran or keeping their distance from it.  But now, in the wake of the Russian-Georgian war which reflected the growth of Russian influence at the expense of American and led Turkey to seek to play a larger geopolitical role, and has led ever more people to ask questions about the effective...
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