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Culture, Policy, and Scholarship in the Subcaucasian Region: (Some Critical Remarks and a Methodological Survey)

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

The mutual interaction of culture and policy, and its influence on scholarship is attested in history. Even today this influence is often remarkable in the various fields of humanities, especially in extra-European contexts.

The topics, which most frequently became the object of analogous polemics in Caucasian and Subcaucasian studies, can be summed up as follows: a) the question of identities, that is how to define the ethnic, cultural, political, and religious belonging of persons, regions, and objects; b) the question of cultural influences and interactions, that is the question, who and which side influenced the other in those cases in which similar historical phenomena or artistic expressions are discernible in different ethnic or religious groups, or state structures.

Obviously, in all these questions strong predicaments of various natures, which can be combined under the common denominator of extra-scholarly factors, play a big role: namely they do not allow or make very difficult a passionless approach and a balanced discussion of the subject.

Since the field of discussion is extremely large, the present inquiry takes into consideration only some specific cases in which the role of extra-scholarly factors seems to have major relevance. Moreover, these cases put in a clearer light the gaps of the conceptual frame and of the methodological procedures used in approaching the subject.

Affiliations: 1: Universita la'Foscari, Venezia

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