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Gender in the South Caucasus

Class at Faculty of Arts |

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Bloc 1: Understanding the anthropology and colonial history of Caucasus (14.10.2022)

Required readings:

·      Madina Tlostonova (2014) How “Caucasians” became “black”, Mir Kulturi.

·      Nikolay Zakharov and Ian Law (2017) Racisms in the Southern Caucasus:Multiple Configurations, in Post-Soviet Racisms, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., London pp. 91-128

·      Maia (Nukri) Tabidze, Arpi Atabekyan (2019) Banality of Nationalism in the South Caucasus: Pro-Violence Practices of the Society in Georgia and Armenia, Caucasus Edition, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp.68-84

·      Jody LaPorte (2015) Hidden in plain sight: political opposition and hegemonic authoritarianism in Azerbaijan, Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 31 No.4, pp.339-366

Further readings:

·      Nona Shahnazarian &Ulrike Zieme (2018) Women Confronting Death: War Widows” Experiences in the South Caucasus, Journal of International Women's Studies 19:2, 29–43.

·      Peter Kabachnik, Magdalena Grabowska, Joanna Regulska, Beth Mitchneck & Olga V. Mayorova (2013) Traumatic masculinities: the gendered geographies of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia, Gender, Place & Culture, 20:6, 773-793

·      Kvinna till Kvinna (2019) Listen to her, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation. Available at: https:// Gendered-Effects-of-the-Conflict-over-Nagorno-Karabakh-and-Womens-Prioritiesfor-Peace.pdf. Last accessed: May 15, 2020

·      Shirinian, Tamar. 2021. ‘The Illiberal East: The Gender and Sexuality of the Imagined Geography of Eurasia in Armenia’. Gender, Place & Culture 28 (7): 955–74. /0966369X.2020.1762545.

·      Ramil Zamanov (2020) Gender, ethnicity and peacebuilding in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Univerzita Karlova.  

Bloc 2: Colonial history and post-Soviet period of gender in the South Caucasus (4.11.2022)

Short documentary: What it’s like to be different in Georgia (

Required readings:

·      Nona Shahnazarian, Gunel Movlud, Edita Badasyan (2016) From the Cinderella of Soviet Modernization to the Post-Soviet Return to “National Traditions”: Women’s Rights in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, Caucasus Edition

·      Sona Dilanyan, Burcu Doğan, Anna Iluridze (2017) Gender and Sexuality in the Discourses of the Nation-State in Conflict Contexts: Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey, Caucasus Edition, Vol. 2, pp.121-43 (please do not focus on Turkey)

·      Militz, Elisabeth. 2020. ‘Killing the Joy, Feeling the Cruelty: Feminist Geographies of Nationalism in Azerbaijan’. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 38 (7–8): 1256–74.

Further readings:

·      Bakar Berekashvili (2018) Nationalism and Hegemony in Post-Communist Georgia, Caucasus Edition, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.67-79

·      Militz, E., Affective Nationalism. Bodies, Materials and Encounters with the Nation in Azerbaijan. Zürich, LIT Verlag, 2019.

·      Madina Tlostanova (2011) The South of the Poor North: Caucasus Subjectivity and the Complex of Secondary “Australism”, The Global South , Vol. 5, No. 1, Special Issue: The Global South and World Dis/Order, pp. 66-84

Bloc 3: Understanding modern ‘gender’ and gender activism in the South Caucasus (11.11.2022)

Short documentary: Confronting Feminism in Armenia (

 Required reading:

·      Aslanova, Aygun, Badasyan Edita, and Shahnazarian Nona. 2016. ‘Under the Rainbow Flags: LGBTI Rights in The South Caucasus’. Caucasus Edition–Journal of Conflict Transformation, 1–30.

·      Carniel, Jessica. 2015. ‘Skirting the Issue: Finding Queer and Geopolitical Belonging at the Eurovision Song Contest’. Contemporary Southeastern Europe 2 (1).

·      Mestvirishvili, Maia, Tinatin Zurabishvili, Tamar Iakobidze, and Natia Mestvirishvili. 2017. ‘Exploring Homophobia in Tbilisi, Georgia’. Journal of Homosexuality 64 (9): 1253–82.  

·      Sonja Schiffers (2021) Pride and Prejudice: Georgia after the Escalation of Violence against Civil Society, Heinrich Böll Foundation South Caucasus.

Further readings:

·      Shahnazarian, N., and Ziemer, U., ‘Young Soldiers Tales of War in Nagorno- Karabakh.’ Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 64, Issue 9, 2012, 1667–83.

·      Zamanov, R., “Challenges of Gender Studies in Azerbaijan”, in: IN:SIGHTS, International Student Journal of Anthropology, Strasbourg 2022, 184-191.

·      Paitjan, Ani, and Naila Dadashzadeh. 2020. ‘Armenia and Azerbaijan: Cross Views on Army and Homosexuality’. Caucasus Edition–Journal of Conflict Transformation. homosexuality/.

·      Hofmann, Erin Trouth. 2014. ‘Does Gender Ideology Matter in Migration?: Evidence from the Republic of Georgia’. International Journal of Sociology 44 (3): 23–41. /10.2753/IJS0020-7659440302.

·      Nona Shahnazarian &Ulrike Zieme (2014) Emotions, Loss and Change: Armenian Women and Post-Socialist Transformations in Nagorny Karabakh, Caucasus Survey 2:1, 27–40

·      Joel Rookwood (2022) From sport-for-development to sports mega-events: conflict, authoritarian modernisation and statecraft in Azerbaijan, Sport in Society, 25:4, 847-866, DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2021.2019710

Bloc 4: Visiting non-academic literature (emerging platforms) (22.12.2022 – this class will run on Thursday instead of Friday)

Short documentary: A and 24 Others (due to license issues, we will watch this during the class)

Required readings:

·      Mariam Nikuradze (2016) Let Girls Go to School: Early Marriages in Georgia, ChaiKhana. Available at:

·      Lazar Mikov (2017) Gay in Tbilisi - In and Out of The Closet , ChaiKhana. Available at:

·      Vusala Hajiyeva (2022) Trans women in the sex industry in Azerbaijan: Is it a free choice or just the illusion of choice?, GlobalVoices. Available at:

·      Khayyam Namazov (2021) Emerging Political Feminism in Azerbaijan: The Most Visible Other, Heinrich Böll Foundation South Caucasus. Available at:

·      Ramil Zamanov (2022) Understanding Intersectionality through LGBTQIA+/Queer Narratives in Azerbaijan, Heinrich Böll Foundation South Caucasus. Available at:

·      Nelli Shishmanyan (2015) Being A Woman in the Village, ChaiKhana. Available at:

·      Ani Grigoryan (2017) Let’s (Not) Talk About Sex in Armenia , ChaiKhana. Available at:

Further readings:

·      Lala Aliyeva (2017) Strength and Struggle of Azerbaijani Women in Iran, ChaiKhana.

·      Lidiya Mikhalchenko (2019) Opinion | It’s time for North Caucasian men to stop trying to put women ‘

This text is not available in the current language. Showing version "cs".Annotation

This course explores the gender and queer issues in the modern states of South Caucasus. The course consists of four interactive classes and each class will last 3 hours. The first part of the course ‘Understanding the anthropology and colonial history of Caucasus’ and ‘Colonial history and post-Soviet period of gender in the South Caucasus ‘ analyse the interesting concepts of gender, colonial history and independence of S. Caucaus by revisiting the works of indigenous and international scholars. The second part, ‘Understanding modern ‘gender’ and gender activism in the South Caucasus’ and ‘Visiting non-academic literature (emerging platforms’ explore women’s and queers’ gender activism and challenges in the different parts of S. Caucasian states, mainly Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. To highlight, we will analyze gender from non-binary perspectives by reading the articles about LGBTQI+/ queer communities.

South Caucasus has historically been colonized by several empires and the most recent one was the USSR. This course aims to highlight and critically analyze those connections ( or their lack of) to understand the gender issues in historically conservative region. These questions will take us to theories of colonialism and gender liberation as much as gender and sexuality studies:

How has colonial history shaped our understanding of gender in S. Caucasus? What are the connections between colonial history and gender? What do queers/LGBTQI+ do when they are rejected? What visions do feminisms offer for the future of feminist politics and queer politics in S. Caucasus? How do gender regimes differ in each context? Are these gender regimes compatible? These are some of the questions that will inform our discussions in class. The course will proceed through engaging case studies and an exercise of peer education and presentation that will take us out of the formal education to expand our sensorium and train our research skills.