Khojaly Tragedy: Beyond State Ideologies

Lecture | January 25 | 5-7 p.m. | 270 Stephens Hall

 Nona R. Shahnazarian, Social Anthropologist, Institute of Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Armenian Studies Program

Dr. Shahnazarian's research focuses on the recent history of ultra-nationalism and ethnic violence in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and its consequences for the local populations. It gives attention to the case of Khojaly. Khojaly was a settlement in Nagorno Karabakh situated on a major road and near the only airport in Karabakh, being the second largest town in Nagorno-Karabakh populated mainly by ethnic Azerbaijanis. Many Meskhetian Turks (some 54 families) took shelter in Khojaly after the tragic events in Fergana valley in 1990. The town was protected mainly by Azerbaijani national army soldiers and Azerbaijani militia (OMON policemen). The latter also guarded the airport, and were accused of violating the rights of local Armenian residents. Early in 1992, Armenian forces began to break out of the Karabakhi capital, Stepanakert (Khankendi in Azerbaijani toponymic tradition). The study aims to provide a more nuanced picture of Khojaly case and a major ethnic conflict from the recent past with continuing ramifications in the present. As an anthropologist, she has conducted relevant field work and library research on the topic in different parts of the world.

Dr. Shahnazarian is a visiting scholar at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at Stanford University through the Carnegie Visiting Scholars Program.