A 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).
Project 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: www.abkhazovedenie.com.
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
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. By 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.
Lars Funch Hansen defended his PhD thesis The 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.
Having 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
– 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
At our third webseminar this semester Märta-Lisa Magnusson – 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!
The 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”.
Professor 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.
Prof. Zaal Kikvidze, Chikobava Institute, Tbilisi State University (Georgia): Alphabet Shift in the Caucasus: Motivations and Implications. Visiting lecturer Aytan Sadigova, Azerbaijan Technical University, Baku (Azerbaijan), discusses Alphabet shifts in Azerbaijan.
When? October 1, 16.00–ca 17.30.
Where? Kranen studio
You will be able to follow the seminar on video at the course site. Join us on skype caucasusstudies, where you will be able to pose questions to the lecturers.
Participation on campus
Students and staff in Malmö/Lund are welcome to attend the web seminar at Malmö University campus. We will meet at the entrance to “Kranen” at 15.45 and go to the studio together.
How to get there: Walk from the Central station or take bus no 5 (stop Ubåtshallen, 5 stops from the railway station).
EDUCATION. The field of Caucasus studies is growing stronger at Malmö University. A new course with case and field studies is introduced, and the university has been playing host to three visiting experts specialising in Caucasus.
The trio are made up of Georgian professors Alexandre Kukhianidze and Zaal Kikvidze who have been joined by Aytan Sadigova, a lecturer from Azerbaijan. Getting the three together is quite a feat as the courses themselves are taught completely online.
“As our courses are multi-disciplinary covering politics, culture and history it is very important for us to have strong contacts with scholars from the region. For area studies and to establish connections for field work then it is vital,” says Karina Vamling, Professor of Caucasus Studies, at the Faculty of Culture and Society at Malmö University.
Alexandre Kukhianidze is professor in political science of Tbilisi State University, Georgia. His visit to Malmö University and Caucasus Studies at the Faculty of Culture and Society is funded by a Linneaus-Palme grant.
Professor Kukhianidze has been a frequest visitor to Caucasus Studies in Malmö and this time he stays for three weeks (September 1–23).
During his visit he has given the web/campus seminar: Georgia after the Soviet collapse. What is Georgia today?