Order Beyond Borders: The Azerbaijani Triangle Across Iran, Turkey, and Russia

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Date

2017

Authors

Yolacan, Serkan

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Ho, Engseng

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Abstract

Turkey’s neo-Ottomanism, Iran’s Shi’a Crescent, and Russia’s neo-Eurasianism: together, they evince increasing transregionalism across West Asia. As states and societies interact beyond national borders, their interactions transform them from without. Evidently, the social basis of this mutual transformation is not to be found in one country but in many, spread out through networks of trade, religion, kinship, etc. This dissertation offers a model for analyzing social orders that are constitutive of multiple political domains. The model is developed through an ethnographic and historiographical study of Azerbaijanis, a Transcaucasian people with diasporic presence across Iran, Turkey, and Russia. By stitching together biographical accounts of itinerant Azerbaijanis from past and present, this study develops a temporally capacious, diasporic perspective on post-Cold War connectivity across Iran, Turkey, and Russia. This network-centric perspective shifts the focus from old imperial centers to their shared frontier as the locus of transregional analysis. In frontiers states interact through a connective tissue woven by diasporic societies whose routes, past and present, crisscross that frontier. While diasporic ties of intimacy give states access to societies beyond their domains, states may in turn sponsor such ties, giving diasporic individuals mandate to act as cultural diplomats. This shadow diplomacy is underpinned by multidirectional, competitive engagement with shared histories across political borders.

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Citation

Yolacan, Serkan (2017). Order Beyond Borders: The Azerbaijani Triangle Across Iran, Turkey, and Russia. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14459.

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