Conférences de Cəmil Həsənli (24-25 janvier 2019)

Historien de la première république azérie (1918-1920) et de l’Azerbaïdjan soviétique, Cəmil Həsənli a étudié dans plusieurs de ses ouvrages la dimension caucasienne et moyen-orientale de la question kurde. Invité à Paris dans le cadre du projet RUSKURD, il y effectuera deux conférences liées à ses thématiques de recherche.

Cəmil Həsənli a notamment mis en avant l’importance du facteur kurde dans son travail relatif au rôle des dirigeants d’Azerbaïdjan soviétique dans le développement d’une politique expansionniste envers l’Iran du Nord, entre les débuts de l’occupation soviéto-britannique de ce pays (août-septembre 1941) et les mois qui suivent la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Il montre dans ses ouvrages relatifs à la crise iranienne le caractère crucial, mais subordonné à la cause azérie, ainsi qu’à d’autres enjeux géopolitiques et économiques, de la question kurde, en soulignant ses dimensions locales.

Intervention en russe, vendredi 25 janvier, au séminaire « Mondes soviétiques, mondes communistes », dans le cadre d’une séance consacrée aux acteurs et échelles de la diplomatie soviétique (9h-13h ; Centre d’histoire de Sciences Po, Salle du Traité, 56 rue Jacob) : « La politique soviétique des frontières méridionales : Turquie, Iran et Turkestan oriental (1945-1947) ». Plus d’informations ici.

Il a également consacré des recherches à la place du facteur national dans l’Azerbaïdjan de la période de déstalinisation. Son ouvrage le plus récent, Le libéralisme soviétique en Azerbaïdjan (Azərbaycanda Sovet liberalizmi, 2018) est consacré à l’histoire politique, sociale et culturelle de l’Azerbaïdjan des années 1960. 

Intervention, jeudi 24 janvier, au séminaire de Claire Mouradian  »Le Caucase entre les empires » (9h30-11h30 ; CERCEC, EHESS, Salle S1A-023, 54 boulevard Raspail, ) : « L’Azerbaïdjan soviétique face à la déstalinisation : enjeux politiques, sociaux et nationaux ».




CfP – Workshop on Political and Military Histories of Russian-Kurdish Relations (19th-21st Centuries)

Moscow, 10-11 June 2019

The involvement of Kurdish forces during the Crimean War inaugurated the political and military encounter of Russians and Kurds between Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Since then, these relations have formed an important and disputed aspect of Russian, and later Soviet, policies in the Middle East. Most significantly, these policies have extended well beyond the clash of the Tsarist and Ottoman Empires at the turn of the 20th century.

            While Russian and Soviet policies have included a sustained focus on the role of the Kurds, their political mobilization and activism in the 1920s-1930s and during the Cold War, the relationship has never been a simple one. It was deeply entangled in the nexus of regional politics and Russian/Soviet policies toward Turkey, Iran,Iraq and Syria, as well as in global dynamics. Conversely, mobilities and alliances with the ‘’East’’ have been important in shaping political identities, but remain a still understudied part of Kurdish political strategies on the international arena.

            Organized as part of the research project RUSKURD (Sciences Po Lille-EHESS), in partnership with the CEFR (Moscow) and the IFEA(Istanbul), this workshop aims at exploring key aspects of the political history of Russian-Kurdish relations. Ph.D candidates, postdoctoral researcher sand senior researchers are invited to present research based on historical, social and anthropological methods to explore the place of politics, ideology, violence and wars throughout two centuries.

            Possible topics to be discussed include:

  • The changing dynamics of the Russian-Kurdish relation in military encounters since the mid-19th century, integrating local conflicts and imperial power struggles,
  • Techniques of insurgency and counterinsurgency, and their transformations in the wake of imperial collapse,
  • The geopolitical use of Kurdish political and military forces by Russia and the Soviet Union from the 19th to the late 20th century,
  • The interplay of police and military factors, logics and actors in the construction of a new border order framing Russian-Kurdish relations,
  • Routes, forms and techniques of political and military influence (including both people and goods, notably weapons),
  • Transnational political, diplomatic and military circulations.

            Travel to and accommodation in Moscow will be taken in charge by the organizers. Administrative help for visa issues will be provided to successful applicants who would need it.

            Proposals consisting of a resume and a short proposal (one-two pages, summarizing the paper, methodology and sources) should be sent before 1 January 2019 to Successful applicants will be notified by the end of January 2019.

Proposals may be submitted in English, French, Russian, Turkish or Kurdish. The working languages of the event will be English and Russian. 

Contact and inquiries:

Workshop on Tribes and Imperial Policies / Comparative Perspectives and Russo-Kurdish Approaches – 5-6 June 2018

Tribes and Empires. The Russian-Kurdish Case in Comparative Perspective

International workshop


Paris, 5-6 June 2018

‘’Tribes’’ – both as a concept and a highly diverse reality – loomed large in the policies of the empires and imperial assemblages that shaped world politics in the last two centuries. Across Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia, they became a key element in imperial, notably colonial, strategies of domination. From the Maghreb to India, they were used for their ‘’martial’’ qualities, but also served the ‘’management of difference’’ so central to the imperial mind. Yet, imperial attention to the tribal question was in itself indicative of modern evolutionary conceptions, which ranked socio-political structures in time and space.

As part of new project on the place of the Kurds in Russian imperial strategies in Eurasia (hosted by the EHESS), this workshop aims at providing critical insights into the historiography of relations between empires and tribes (5 June), before exploring the specificities of the Russo-Kurdish nexus (6 June). Historically focused, this workshop will draw on scholarship from disciplines such as ethnology, anthropology, historical sociology and imperial history in order to understand the features of these relations. The very concept of tribe and its numerous derivatives (clans, confederacies, nomads, etc.) will be discussed from the point of view of concrete imperial strategies.

More specifically, in a time when Russia’s presence in the Middle East has been the focus of much international attention, the second day of this workshop will explore Russo-Kurdish relations as a test case for the relevance of tribal perspectives on imperial role. Through an examination of their evolution across two centuries, it will set out potential directions for further research. 

Organizers: Masha Cerovic, CERCEC, EHESS; Etienne Peyrat, Sciences-Po Lille; Adnan Çelik, CETOBAC, EHESS.
Financial Support: LabEx TEPSIS

Tuesday 5 June

Tribes and Imperial Policies: Comparative Perspectives

Venue: 105 boulevard Raspail, room 3

Chair: Willard Sunderland (University of Cincinnati)

14:00: Welcome

14:30 – 15:30

Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania)

“Russia Imperial Policies and Imperial Realities on the Ground: Patterns of Violence in Russian Occupation Policies, 1914-1918.”

David Sneath (Cambridge University)

“The Notion of the Tribe and Historical Representations of Inner Asia”


Robert Fletcher (University of Warwick)

“Beating Empire’s Bounds: the British and the Bedouin in the Interwar Middle East”

Yazid Ben Hounet (CNRS – EHESS / Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat)

“The French Empire and Algeria’s Tribes : Destruction, Reification, Fascination”

17 :00 – 18 :30 : roundtable / general discussion

Wednesday 6 June

The Russian-Kurdish Case

Venue: 54 boulevard Raspail, room AS1_08 (level -1)

9.30-12.30: The Kurds in Russian Imperial Strategies.

This panel will discuss the political aspects of Russian policies toward the Kurds through an exploration of their multiple spaces (Caucasus, Near and Middle East, Central Asia) and historical contexts. It is also meant as a forum to present and discuss the RUSKURD research project with all interested parties.

9.30 Masha Cerovic (EHESS)-Etienne Peyrat (Sciences Po Lille)

General introduction and presentation of the research project RUSKURD ‘’Russians and Kurds in the Middle East (late 19th-21st centuries) : The Tribal Factor in Imperial Strategies’’

11.30 Nodar Mossaki (Russian Academy of Sciences)

‘’Russia and Kurdish Tribes on the Turkish-Russian Border during the Crimean War’’

14.-17.30: The Russo-Kurdish Nexus in Intellectual and Cultural History.

This panel will focus on one of the key aspects of our ongoing project, the cultural and intellectual impact of Russo-Kurdish relations.


 Christine Robins (University of Exeter)

‘’Yezidi Cultural Identities between the Caucasus and the Middle East’’

Metin Yüksel (Hacettepe Üniversitesi)

‘’The Calil Family and Soviet-Kurdish Interactions’’

16:00 – 18:00

Adnan Çelik (EHESS-Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes)

‘’Radio Erevan and Russian-Kurdish Relations’’

 Davut Yeşilmen (Universität Duisburg-Essen)

‘’Kurdish-Armenian Relations in Soviet Kurdish Novels’’

Concluding remarks

Russes et Kurdes au Moyen-Orient (XIXe-XXIe siècle)

L’objectif du carnet est d’offrir un suivi, scientifique et événementiel, du projet de recherche RUSKURD, financé par l’ANR et consacré à l’histoire des relations entre Russes et Kurdes, entre Europe de l’Est et Moyen-Orient, du 19e siècle à nos jours. Ce projet, hébergé par la Maison européenne des sciences de l’homme (MESHS, Lille) et Sciences Po Lille, vise à étudier ces relations sur un plan politique, militaire, culturel et intellectuel, en reconstituant des géographies, réseaux et connexions dans une histoire peu connue. Le carnet présentera à la fois les activités organisées par le projet, des notes de recherche, ressources documentaires et publications diverses. Il ciblera à la fois un public académique et des lecteurs curieux de ce sujet.