The 2nd international conference on Talishi Studies will be held in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, on Friday and Saturday. 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 of its 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 Hyksos Foundation, 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 several significant appendices, the monograph examines the origin and history of the Talishi people (from the oldest civilizations on the area of Talish to the modern history of the Talishis). Separate chapters discuss the issues of population, natural resources of Talish, 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 Vosaknian, 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 of Iranian Studies.