The value of the past: myths, identity and politics in Transcaucasia, by Victor A. Shnirelman

myths, identity and politics in Transcaucasia, by Victor A. Shnirelman

 The value of the past: myths, identity and politics in Transcaucasia, by Victor A. Shnirelman The value of the past: myths, identity and politics in Transcaucasia
Author: Victor A. Shnirelman
Year: 2001
Publisher: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Place of Publication: Osaka, Japan
Number of pages: 465
Language: English

(Senri Ethnological Studies No.57).

In ethnic conflicts of the former Soviet Transcaucasia, each conflicting group is trying its best to demonstrate the legitimacy of their claims mainly by the criteria of homeland and language. Such choice of criteria is based on Soviet practice, when ethnic groups could enjoy degrees of privilege of territorial political autonomy only when they were considered to be indigenous ethnic groups of the territories in question. Thus, most of the ethnic groups had to show that they were an autochthonous population in a particular territory which had continued to live there using their own language from the very beginning of their existence as a unique ethnic group. Victor A. Shnirelman's book, The Value of the Past: Myths, Identity and Politics in Transcaucasia, examines in great detail the process of how one or another ethnic group was trying hard to reinterpret and rewrite its own history in order to prove its autochthonousness and continued use of its own language, and, eventually, to create a new ethnogenetic myth. However, a myth of ethnogenesis of one group often clashed with that of another often a rival group. The clash set in motion another cycle of historical reinterpretation and rewriting, pushing the parties further and further back into the past. While the book provides us with rich and complex information concerning the whole process, it seems that the author is a little too much interested in the rich details of the practice of rewriting history to consider the issue of generalization.

The full book in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (7.85 MB)

See also: 

+ Review of VICTOR A. SHNIRELMAN: The Value of the Past: Myths, Identity and Politics in Transcaucasia, by George Hewitt
+ Alternative Prehistory, by Victor A. Shnirelman
+ Nationalism, politics, and the practice of archaeology in the Caucasus, by Philip Kohl and Gocha Tsetskhladze

CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS........................................................................................ i

LIST OF MAPS...........................................................................................................v

INTRODUCTION: MYTHS, SYMBOLS AND POLITICS................................... 1

PART I THE ARMENIAN-AZERI CONFRONTATION................................... 17
Chapter 1 Myths and identity................................................................................19
Chapter 2 From Tigran the Great to Soviet Armenia...........................................23
Chapter 3 Myth and politics in Armenia: from migrants to indigenous
people................................................................................................... 33
Chapter 4 The value of indigenous ancestors......................................................41
Chapter 5 The origins of the Armenian people, and the Armenian school........57
Chapter 6 The Armenization of Urartu: revisionist concepts..............................61
Chapter 7 The birth of the Azeri nation................................................................79
Chapter 8 The search for historical concepts, and major politics....................... 93
Chapter 9 The Median temptation and Soviet patriotism..................................103
Chapter 10 Between Media, Caucasian Albania and the Turkic world:
thirst for a new view...........................................................................113
Chapter 11 Revisionists: the pan-Turkic assault..................................................127
Chapter 12 The struggle between the “conservatives” and the “revisionists”,
and a school education........................................................................139
Chapter 13 The struggle for Nagorny Karabagh: the clash of myths..................149
13.1 A short overview of Karabagh’s past................................................. 150
13.2 The Albanization of the Armenian heritage...................................... 154
13.3 The Albanian myth.............................................................................164
13.4 An Armenian response....................................................................... 173
13.5 The clash of the myths........................................................................181
13.6 Demography, economics and ethnic minorities................................ 184
Chapter 14 The Nakhjivan passions.....................................................................187
Chapter 15 History and intense politics...............................................................191

PART II THE GEORGIAN -ABKHAZIAN CONFLICT................................... 199
Chapter 1 A republic with restricted sovereignty.............................................. 201
Chapter 2 The Abknazian republic in search of its glorious ancestors............215
Chapter 3 The adventures of the early Georgians in Asia M inor..................... 227
Chapter 4 Eternal Georgia..................................................................................245
Chapter 5 The Colchian mirage......................................................................... 259
Chapter 6 Turchaninov’s “discovery” ............................................................... 269
Chapter 7 The Abkhazians in a struggle for the “right” past............................273
Chapter 8 The Abkhazian-Georgian competition.............................................285
Chapter 9 From competition to confrontation................................................... 299
Chapter 10 History, religion, demography, politics............................................335

PART III THROWN OVER THE RIDGE...........................................................351
Chapter 1 Southern Ossetia in the Georgian context........................................353
Chapter 2 Scythiomania.................................................................................... 361

CONCLUSIONS : ETHNOCENTRISM AND THE BREAKUP OF
THE SOVIET UNION........................................................................................... 381
NOTES....................................................................................................................393
LITERATURE........................................................................................................ 403
INDEX OF AUTHORS AND PERSONAL NAMES...........................................451
INDEX OF POLITICAL, GEOGRAPHICAL, TRIBAL
AND ETHNIC NAMES......................................................................................... 457

The full book in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (7.85 MB)

 

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