The Caucasus in the Modern Era: "Ethnicities, Empires, and Nations"

History 103B.002

Spring 2018
3104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Th 2-4
Class Number: 

This seminar is a historical survey of the Caucasus from the end of the eighteenth century to the present. A number of features characterize this region, three of which deserve some attention. First, the ethnoreligious diversity of its population is remarkable, for many small ethnies have been able to survive there for centuries in often adverse conditions. Second, the region is also best understood as a corridor through which numerous invasions have passed, often leaving behind them masses of settlers. Third, the Caucasus has been, and still is, a zone of contact among various imperial or regional powers and their civilizations.

The seminar will focus on the experiences of the three main nationalities (the Armenians, the Azerbaijanis, and the Georgians), without neglecting those of smaller ethnic groups. It will cover the post-Soviet period quite thoroughly. Some of the themes to be discussed include: the rise of nationalism among the Armenians and Georgians and of national consciousness among the future Azerbaijanis; the creation of Soviet socialist republics and “nation-making”; imperial disintegrations (the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union) and their consequences; and various ethnic and ethnoterritorial conflicts.