Di, 28.02.2023 17:00

Wrestling with History: An Analysis of the Karabakh Conflict in Armenian and Azerbaijani State Discourses

Webinar Series "Caucasus Studies" - Lecture 5

online ZOOM lecture by Dr. Naira Sahakyan  |  Armenian Genocide Museum Institute, Yerevan

Abstract The purpose of this research is to analyse the development of war narratives surrounding the Nagorno Karabakh conflict as presented by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The study focuses on the role of political leaders in using war narratives to mobilise their societies by creating a sense of "otherness" in regards to their rivals and to establish historical narratives that are essential for their self-perception.

The research posits that conflicts often shape and influence historical narratives, which in turn shape the social and political identity of communities. These narratives are continually retold and adapted over time to reflect changing political and socio-economic environments. This study focuses on the war narratives presented by Armenian leaders Levon Ter Petrosyan, Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan and Nikol Pashinyan, as well as Azerbaijani leaders Heydar Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev, between 1991 and 2020, i.e. from the independence to the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. The analysis aims to show how real-world political events impact war narratives and how leaders can prepare their nations for peace by avoiding dehumanising and exclusionary rhetoric.

Keywords:  War propaganda; Rhetorical strategies; Historical narratives; Nagorno Karabakh conflict; Self-perception; Otherness; Nationalism


Dr. Naira Sahakyan earned her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Currently, she is a senior researcher at the AGMI and a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. She is also lecturing at the American University of Armenia and Yerevan State University. She is the author of Muslim Reformers and the Bolsheviks: The Case of Daghestan (Routledge, 2022) and Armenian Price of Peace: The Revolutions of 1917 and the Future of Armenia in the Perception of the Armenian Intelligentsia (Yerevan: Newmag, 2023). Currently, her research interests are the transformations of ethnoreligious nationalisms in the Caucasus (focus on Azerbaijan) and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s impact on the identities of the people of these countries. Dr. Sahakyan authored articles in peer-reviewed journals.


For registration please use this link: https://oeaw-ac-at.zoom.us/j/61243631768?pwd=UWkvTkprVGdGMlBJRC8vM2hqNjRpZz09








February 28, 2023

online ZOOM lecture