WiP: Uncertain Returns: Meskhetians and Ahiska Turks in Georgia and Azerbaijan, July 2 – Irina Levis

American Councils, CRRC and ARISC present the 19th talk in the Spring/Summer 2014 Works-in-Progress Series!

Irina Levin, New York University and CAORC Fellow
“Uncertain Returns: Meskhebi and Ahıska Türkleri in Georgia and Azerbaijan”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 6:15pm
EPF/CRRC-Georgia, Kavsadze St. 3, Tbilisi

The focus of Ms. Levin’s current project, which also encompasses field sites in Turkey and Azerbaijan, is issues of law, citizenship, and property in the daily lives of Ahiska Turks and Meskhetians. Deported from southwestern Georgia in 1944, this population has had a dedicated return movement since the 1950s. Today, this movement engages with local, national, and international human rights legal regimes in its efforts to give deportees and their descendants a way home. What do these efforts mean for regular Ahiska Turks and Meskhetians? Further, what do the everyday legal struggles of these regular people mean for the return movement? Broadly put, the aim of this study is to augment our understanding of long-term adaptation and return processes among a forcibly displaced population.

In this talk, Ms. Levin looks to reflect on some key ethnographic moments from her fieldwork so far in the context of current frameworks in legal anthropology and citizenship studies, as well as insights from the anthropology of post-socialism. She welcomes your questions, comments, and suggestions.

Irina Levin is a doctoral candidate in New York University’s Department of Anthropology. She received her BA from Washington University in St. Louis and her MA from New York University. She has been a recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including the SSRC Eurasia Pre-Dissertation Grant and the Fulbright IIE Research Grant, and has conducted fieldwork in Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. She is currently conducting her dissertation fieldwork in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia, supported by grants from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).


W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to natia@crrccenters.org.