Iran and the Caucasus: Migrations, Diasporas, Minorities

Sixth Biennial Convention of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS), 2 - 6 September 2013, Sarajevo

his panel was composed of eight presentations divided into two sections of four speakers each. The first section included papers by Viktoria Arakelova, Khodadad Rezakhani and Babak Rezvani. The second section included papers by Grigol Beradze, Nana Kharebava, Irina Koshoridze and Marina Aleksidze. It was presented at the Sixth Biennial Convention of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies in Sarajevo, 2-6 September 2013.

The cultural diversity of the Caucasus region and the relations of the latter with the civilizations flourishing on the Iranian plateau is well-known and the importance of both topics does not need be stressed or explained. The present panel is articulated in two sections (to be held consecutively on the same day), and it aims at giving a glimpse of the complexity, diversity and richness of the relations linking the Caucasus region with Persia. The panel has intentionally shifted its focus from political, military, diplomatic, and economic history (which have so far received the lion’s share of the scholars’ attention) towards phenomena of linguistic, ethnic or, in general, “cultural” integration, with a special attention to less known episodes and aspects. The political history of Georgia and Iran of course appear occasionally in the presentations of the panel, but as a starting point to discuss other issues rather than as the major focus of discussion. Likewise, an effort has been made to look not only (as it is usually the case) at the ways in which Persia may have influenced the cultures of the Caucasus, but also to show how influences (hence the word “migrations” in the sense of migration of ideas, traditions, concepts or artistic taste) may travelled in the opposite direction. Particularly interesting and welcome is the presentation concerning the Caucasian Albanians, whose presence and role in the highly Persianate Caucasus of the Late Antiquity are often outshone by those of the Armenians and Georgians.