Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity

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MIT Press, 2002 M10 2 - 268 pages
The Azerbaijani people have been divided between Iran and the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan for more than 150 years, yet they have retained their ethnic identity. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of an independent Azerbaijan have only served to reinforce their collective identity. In Borders and Brethren, Brenda Shaffer examines trends in Azerbaijani collective identity from the period of the Islamic Revolution in Iran through the Soviet breakup and the beginnings of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1979-2000). Challenging the mainstream view in contemporary Iranian studies, Shaffer argues that a distinctive Azerbaijani identity exists in Iran and that Azerbaijani ethnicity must be a part of studies of Iranian society and assessments of regime stability in Iran. She analyzes how Azerbaijanis have maintained their identity and how that identity has assumed different forms in the former Soviet Union and Iran. In addition to contributing to the study of ethnic identity, the book reveals the dilemmas of ethnic politics in Iran.

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Oslonor: This is a very good book. I have written an article which adds more analysis to the situation in Azerbaijan. Iran: Aryanism to Pan Turkism


The Azerbaijanis until 1920
The Azerbaijanis under the Soviet and Pahlavi Regimes
The Islamic Revolution and the Azerbayanis
Between Two Revolutions
The Republic of Azerbaijans Independence
Lessons on Iran and Identity Theory
Appendix The Azerbaijani Population
Selected Bibliography
About the Author
About the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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Page 9 - All that I can find to say is that a nation exists when a significant number of people in a community consider themselves to form a nation, or behave as if they formed one.
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About the author (2002)

Brenda Shaffer is Research Director of the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University. She is the author of Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity (MIT Press, 2002).

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