First Research and First Specialists: The Social Sciences and Humanities in Post-Soviet Azerbaijan

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Sergey Rumyantsev

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Abstract

This review essay discusses the relatively meager scholarly output in the humanities and social sciences in post-Soviet Azerbaijan in its institutional and political context. Publications often aim to contribute to a new Azerbaijani identity, yet much of Azerbaijani academia remains organized along Soviet lines. Most of its output is normative, lacks scholarly rigor, and is poorly disseminated, as is that sponsored by Western foundations and local NGOs. Historians have debated the ethnic history of Azerbaijan, the context of the Karabagh conflict, and 20th-century political history. The study of Azeri identity and mentality form a separate domain of research, and there is related work on religious attitudes and ethnosociology, which includes the study of ethnic minorities. Analyses of topics such as labor migration or the formation of a middle class are rarely based on empirical research. There is also a considerable literature on religions in Azerbaijan, especially Islam and politics. In Russian, summary in English.

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