Conference: The Caspian in the History of Early Modern and Modern Eurasia

March 29, 2019 - 1:00pm to March 31, 2019 - 1:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

The Caspian in the History of Early Modern and Modern Eurasia workshop, organized by the Program in Iranian Studies at Yale intends to explore the dimensions of the Caspian Sea as a geographical frame for historical study. The workshop asks whether the Caspian functions as a conceptual framework for various forms of exchange in commerce, diplomacy, political culture, forces of dissent and revolutionary movements, movement of peoples, material culture, art, and literature as well as ecology, disease, navigation and maritime culture. Are there tangible historical ties in the early modern and modern periods between regions of the Caspian littoral – Iran, the South Caucasus, Dagestan, Russia, and Central Asia? In what ways do exchanges in this region connect to neighboring, more established cultural and political spheres and with broader trends of global history? Can these ties create a viable field of study beyond Middle Eastern, Eurasian, and Russian studies to underscore interregional connections? Can the Caspian be conceptualized as an alternative or as a compliment to more established frames, such as the Persianate World or Central Eurasia and the steppe? To what extent can the links within this region be separated from state-centered histories of Iran and the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union?

Friday, March 29th, 2019
Introductory Remarks, Abbas Amanat (Yale University)
Luce Hall 202, 12:30-1:00 PM

Panel 1: Astrakhan as Gateway to the Caspian and to Caspian Studies
Luce Hall 202, 2:00-3:30 PM

Marina Imasheva, Kazan Federal University
Russian-Iranian Trade through the Port of Astrakhan in the Early 19th century
Guido Hausmann, University of Regensburg
Astrakhan and the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Early Modern Political Geography
Rachel Koroloff, University of Göttingen
Cultivation of Iranian Plants in Russian State Gardens, 1740s – 1750s
Panel 2: Caspian Studies Beyond the Russo-Iranian Paradigm
Luce Hall 202, 4:00-5:30 PM

Scott Levi, Ohio State University
Isolation or Integration? The Bukharan Crisis in the 18th Century
Ulfatbek Abdurasulov, Austrian Academy of Sciences
The Caspian Connection: How to Write Khiva into World History
Emily O’Dell, Yale Law School
Geographies of the Caspian in the Life & Poetry of Magtymguly Pyragy
Optional Concert: Uppsala Academic Choir, Battell Chapel, 400 College St., 7:30 PM

Saturday, March 30th, 2019
Panel 3: Building Empires on the Caspian, the Ottomans and Russians
Luce Hall 203, 10:00-11.30 AM

George Bournoutian, Iona College
Russian Naval Operations in the Caspian Sea (18th and 19th Centuries): An Overview
Murat Yasar, SUNY Oswego
The Ottomans and the Caspian Sea in the 16th and 17th Centuries
Matthew Ramaniello, Weber State University
My Ink is Not Black Enough: Mungo Graeme, John Elton, and the Russian Company’s Iran Trade
Keynote Speech: “To Set the Caspian Ablaze: The Soviet Union Beyond its Southern Frontiers (1917-1937)” with Touraj Atabaki (International Institute of Social History)
Luce Hall 203, 12:00-1:00 PM

Panel 4: Russian interests in the Southern Caspian from the Late 18th to the Early 20th Century
Luce Hall 203, 2:00-3:30 PM

Elena Andreeva, Virginia Military Institute
Russian Sources on Mazandaran and Gilan Prior to 1917: An Overview
Kevin Gledhill, Yale University
Betrayed into the Hands of the Enemy: The 1797 Russian Investigation of the Death of Hedayat-Allah Khan of Gilan
Rustin Zarkar, New York University
The Customs of Customs: Licit and Illicit Crossings in the Caspian Sea (1864-1917)
Panel 5: The Caspian as Intellectual and Cultural Bridge
Luce Hall 203, 4:00-5:30 PM

Katerina Clark, Yale University
Velemir Khlebnikov – Revolutionary Thought in Baku and Iran in 1921
Firuza Melville, University of Cambridge
Works of the Baku Opera Company, pre-1917
Layla Diba, Independent Scholar & Curator
Border Crossing: Iranian Artists in Czarist Russia and Georgia
Sunday, March 31st, 2019:
Panel 6: State Interests and Revolutionary Movements in the Southern Caspian in the Early 20th Century
Luce Hall 203, 9:30-11:00 AM

Iurii Demin, Irkutsk State University
Pragmatic Elements of Early Soviet Policy toward Iran
Denis Volkov, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Bringing Democracy into Persia: One Russian Project for the Separation of Iranian Azerbaijan
Kayhan Nejad, Yale University
The Jangal and Northern Iranian Revolutionary Movements, 1914-1921
Lunchtime plenary session: The Future of Caspian Studies
Luce Hall 203, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Concluding remarks
Luce Hall 203, 12:30-1:00 PM

Optional Event: Nowruz Celebration with Concert by Parhām Haghighi, Luce Hall Auditorium, 4:00 PM

Open to: 
undergraduate