The Role of Digital Diaspora in the Circassian Revival

larsCaucasus web/campus seminar

On the basis of research from his recently defended doctoral dissertation The Circassian Revival: a quest for recognition at the Dept. of Crosscultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University, PhD Lars Funch Hansen will give the seminar:The Role of Digital Diaspora in the Circassian Revival.

  • When: December 3, 16.15-17.30 (Swedish time)
  • Where: Malmö University Campus, “Kranen” studio
  • Online participation: send an email to

Link to the seminar:


Seminar: Language names and terminology

Professor Zaal Kikvidze, Chikobava Institute of Linguistics, Tbilisi Javakhishvili State University, Georgia ( Title of the seminar – “Language Names: Terminology and Ideology”.

Professor Kikvide is currently on a three month staff exchange at the department (funded by the Erasmus Mundus Ember project,


Visiting Dmanisi – cradle of first Eurasians

We often think about the Caucasus as the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Add another ancient road to this: Africa! At archealogical excavations in Dmanisi 1.75 million years old Hominid remains have been discovered. (reconstructions below).

dmanisi2 dmanisi3As noted in the UNESCO World Heritage description (, this is the earliest Hominid remains beyond Africa.


Visit Dmanisi:

dmanisi1Dmanisi is located 85 kilometers south-west of Tbilisi. The site includes remains from the most ancient period of settlement as well as later stone, bronze and historical Middle ages.

(Photo K.Vamling)

Project presentation at Sokhumi University: Abkhaz electronic library

1654198_868075383225601_4400330469273951624_nA unique project in Abkhazalogy was presented at Sokhumi State University, Tbilisi, on November 6. The aim of the project is to create an electronic library of Abkhaz literature published mainly after 1991 on the Abkhaz language, grammars and dictionaries, as well as works on Abkhaz archeology, history, ethnography, folklore, literature and other areas of the Humanities. The project is funded jointly by UNDP  and EU (COBERM).

1513690_868086256557847_8538579649693276041_nProject leader is professor Teimuraz Gvanceladze (photo above, to the right), a prominent specialist on the Abkhaz language and Director of the Institute of Abkhaz Language and Culture at Sokhumi University. Co-workers in the project are both Abkhaz and Georgien scholars: Dr. Rezo Kacia, Dr. Gvanca Gvanceladze, Dr. Tamar Gitolendia and Sofiko Chaava. The research team has already started their work and at the project site around 60 pubications are already available:

The project presentation was covered by the Abkhaz  team of the news program Moabe, 2TV (Meore Arkhi), November 7. In the clip below professor Teimuraz Gvanceladze  tells about the project and, as one of the foreign guests at the presentation, professor Karina Vamling, Malmö University (Sweden), gives her views and comments on the importance of the project.  The program is broadcasted in the Abkhaz language.

Contacts and international exchange – Sokhumi University and Malmö University

Sokhumi State University, Tbilisi, is a partner university in the Erasmus Mundus EMINENCE project where Malmö University also participates. The exchange is open at all levels – staff, post-docs, PhD candidates, students at MA and BA levels (read more:

Rally in Tbilisi

“No to annexation”

Today, on November 15, the central Rose Square and Rustaveli Avenue i Tbilsi, were  closed for traffic. From the morning police vehicles and hundreds, or most probably several thousand, policemen lined up along the avenue, blocking off side-streets. 15nov1By 3 o’clock the square was packed with demonstrators, gathering with flags and banners. Among the Georgian flags were many EU flags, US and UK  flags, Ukrainian flags. The banners carried slogans such as  “Stop Russia”, “Russian troops – get out of Georgia”.


The rally is a protest against “Russia’s occupation” of Georgia’s breakaway regions. It is organized by the opposition party United National Movement, which criticises the current Georgian government for  not being sufficiently active in countering this development.

Some news links on the event PM on UNM’s Planned Rally

Georgian Journal: Tbilisi prepares for the protests: blocked off streets and police patrols

BBC: Georgians protest against Russia-Abkhazia agreement

Civil.geAt ‘No to Annexation’ Protest Rally UNM Slams ‘Collaborationist’ Govt

Photos & video  by Karina Vamling

Lars Funch Hansen defended his PhD thesis on the Circassians

larsLars Funch Hansen defended his PhD thesis circThe Circassian Revival: a quest for recognition on October 23 at the Department of Crosscultural communication and Regianal studies, Copenhagen University. The thesis focuses on the Circassians, a North Caucasian people that fiercely resisted the conquering of their lands by the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Following their final defeat in 1864, most Circassians were forced into exile and today their descendants live in large diaspora groups in Turkey and neighbouring countries in the Middle East.

IMG_2277Having been the focus of the Russian and Western European romantic imagination in the 19th century, in the 20th century the Circassians fell into nearly complete oblivion. In Soviet times the remaining small Circassian communities in the North Caucasus were divided into Adygs, Cherkess and Kabardians. Having lived in authoritarian societies with restrictive minority policies over several generations, in recent decades Circassians
have been experiencing a revival which comprises the main focus of the thesis. Lars Funch Hansen sets out to explore the conditions of this revival and the ways in which Circassians both in the North Caucasus and in the diaspora are being mobilized to participate in it. In the author’s own words, the main aim of the thesis is “to unveil, present and discuss the rising transnational revival of the Circassians” (p.9) which emerged in the mid-1990s and continues today.

Photo: Supervisor Helen Krag giving a speech to Lars Funch Hansen at the reception after the defence

PhD Committee:
– Ildikó Bellér-Hann, Associate Professor, ToRS, University of Copenhagen (Head of PhD Committee)
– Wulf  Köpke, Professor, Direktor des Museums für Völkerkunde, Hamburg
– Karina Vamling, Professor of Caucasus Studies,  Malmö University



Photo to the left: Lars Funch Hansen and the 1810 map of the Caucasus, presented to him by Helen Krag 

De-facto Entities in the Post-Soviet Space: Dynamics and Prospects

Web/campus seminar

At our third webseminar this semester Märta-Lisa Magnusson mlm– based on a paper presented at the international conference “De-facto Entities in the Post-Soviet Space: Dynamics and Prospects”, Sevan, Armenia, Sept. 4-5 – will discuss the different outcome in terms of political status obtained by post-Soviet Abkhazia, Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia. 

The web-seminar on October 22 starts at 16.15 (Studio at Kranen). Welcome!

Link to the seminar

The international conference ‘De-facto Entities in the Post-Soviet Space: Dynamics and Prospects’ was organized by Caucasus Institute (CI) Yerevan, Armenia  (




The Circassian Revival: A Quest for Recognition

circThe Circassian Revival: A Quest for Recognition. Mediated transnational mobilisation and memoralisation among a geographically dispersed people from the Caucasus is the title of the PhD thesis that will be defended by Lars Funch Hansen on October 23, 13.00 at the Faculty of Humanities, Copenhagen University.

Lars Funch is known to Caucasus Studies students from lecturing at the course module “The Caucasus region: Causes and consequences of migration”.


1st International CUA Conference on Endangered Languages

img389Professor Karina Vamling participates in the 1st International Caucasus University Association (CUA) Conference on Endangered Languages, organized in Ardahan, Turkey, by Caucasus University Association, Ardahan University. Dates: October 13-16, 2014.

The title of her paper is “Internet as a tool for language development and maintenance?”, where she discusses Megrelian as a case in point.

Read more:

The video below shows very short climpses from the different papers with a focus on languages of the Caucasus, presented at the conference.