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Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword? Historians, Disputed Ownership of History, and Ethnic Conflict in the South Caucasus
The profession of history and its practitioners have often been at the forefront or in the trenches of ethnic conflicts and cleansings from the Balkans to the Former Soviet Union. Spurred by the violence and monument-destruction in the mountainous region of the Karabakh, this symposium brings together some of the world’s leading authorities to examine the role of historians in fanning the flames of ethnic/territorial conflicts across the troubled landscape of the South Caucasus. Examining case studies from Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia to Nagorno Karabakh and its surrounding regions and Nakhijevan in Azerbaijan, scholars will present comparative and connective histories of how the historian’s craft and its proponents have been implicated in the incitement of conflict and the destruction of cultural heritage. Topics to be explored include Soviet nationality policy, the production of national histories for the South Caucasian nationalities, the standardization of curricula of national histories under Soviet and post-Soviet rule, and the destruction of historical monuments. A concluding plenary panel will assess the question of historical memory in the South Caucasus and how historians in the region can help facilitate peace and conflict resolution.

This two-day international conference is hosted by the Armenian Studies Center of the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute with the support of the UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies, the Society for Armenian Studies, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research.
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