2nd International Conference On Talishi Studies


Noyan Tapan

The 2nd international conference on Talishi Studies will be
held in Yerevan, 11-12 November, 2011. This conference is a
sequential gathering in the series of academic events held by the
international journal Iran and the Caucasus(BRILL, Leiden-Boston,
Editor-in-chief Prof. Dr. Garnik Asatrian) on the occasion ofits 15th
anniversary. The co-organizers of the event are Modus Vivendi center
(Yerevan, president Ara Papyan), Caucasian Center for Iranian Studies
(Yerevan), International Society for Turkic, Iranian and Caucasian
Studies and ARMACAD (Armenian Association for Academic Partnership
and Support, President Khachik Gevorgyan). The sponsor of the event
is the Hyksosfoundation, presided by Hrach Gabrielian.

To remind, the 1st international conference on Talishi Studies was
held in Tsakhkadzor (Armenia), in May 2005 and was actually organized
by the same group of scholars in the framework of the Department of
Iranian Studies, Yerevan State University and Caucasian Center for
Iranian Studies.

Talishi Studies is an important part of Iranian Studies. The Talishis,
an ancient autochthonous ethnic group of the South Caspian, were
split into two parts as a result of the Russian-Persian wars of the
19th century: the Talishis live in Gilan, a northern Iranian province
and the southern region of Azerbaijan. The unique Talishis culture
is a specific phenomenon of the frontier cultural zone of the South
Caspian. Their syncretic beliefs, rich multi-genre folklore, history,
language, traditional art, etc. are essential aspects of the study
of Armenian Iranologists. Several years ago the Department of Iranian
Studies (YSU) published “The essays on the history and culture of the
Talish people” and “The Talish folk legends and fairy tales”. On the
occasion of this conference, the Department of Iranian Studies (YSU)
has prepared a monograph “Introduction to the history and culture of
the Talish people” (Editor – Professor Garnik Asatrian). Containing 10
chapters and severalsignificant appendices, the monograph examines the
origin and history of the Talishi people (from the oldest civilizations
on the area of Talysh to the modern history of the Talishis). Separate
chapters discuss the issues of population, natural resources of Talysh,
religion and beliefs, traditional art, language and literature of
the Talishi people. Presentation of the monograph will be held during
the opening of the 2nd international conference on Talishi Studies.

Besides the presentation of the abovementioned monograph, on the
opening ceremony professor Garnik Asatrian (Armenia) will talk on
the contemporary problems of Talishi Studies and its perspectives,
professor A. Granmayeh (Great Britain) will talk on “The language and
culture of Talish. How to save them?” and the prominent historian
and writer Kave Farrokh (Canada) will talk on “The process of
deiranization of the Caucasian Azerbaijan (from 1828 to present)”. A
special presentation – project of the new Talishi alphabet based on
the Avestan script – will be made by Vardan Vosaknyan, the Associate
Professor of the Department of Iranian Studies at YSU.

Apart from Armenian scholars, Academicians from Russia, Iran, Georgia,
the Netherlands, Great Britain, USA and Canada will take part in
the forthcoming conference. The conference will undoubtedly become
a significant event not only in the Oriental Studies but also in the
contemporary Talishi history. It has already boosted great interest
among Iranologists and received the most positive feedbacks from the
Talishi intellectual elites of deferent countries.

The conference on the Zaza history and culture, which was recently
organized by the same group and successfully held in Yerevan, the
forthcoming gathering on the Talishi Studies, as well as the interest
of the international academic community towards the activities of
the Armenian scholars prove the highest academic standards of the
Armenian school ofIranian Studies.

The opening ceremony of the conference will take place at the
conference hall of the Congress Hotel in Yerevan, 10:00, 12th November,