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Empire and Names: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh

Empire and Names: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh

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Title: Empire and Names: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh
Author: Foster, Benjamin
Abstract: The Nagorno Karabakh region in Western Azerbaijan has been the site of a bloody conflict between
Azerbaijan and Armenia since 1992. Both nations claim historic ties to the area as independent kingdoms
or as autonomous vassal nations under larger empires.
This paper will survey toponymic patterns in the 20th century of Nagorno Karabakh, under Soviet and
post-Soviet rule. How did toponyms change in the 20th century? Has toponymic reality followed demographic
reality? How did the Soviet toponymic system differ from previous imperial or national systems?
Lastly, what does Karabakh’s toponymic history in the 20th century have to contribute to the discussion on
the Soviets’ treatment of nationalism, and to the discussion on the ongoing tension over Karabakh?
This paper will attempt to answer these questions by examining past and present maps, policy
documents, and other textual sources to provide a toponymic history of Nagorno Karabakh. This history
will help explain how the current toponymic landscape of Karabakh came to be, and whether or not
toponymic actions and policies may have contributed to the conflict. By bringing this aspect of Karabakh’s
history to light, I hope to show how the toponym, an important cultural symbol, plays a role in interethnic
Subject: Names in Nagorno Karabakh
Nagorno Karabakh
Type: Article
Rights: The following articles are © 2009 with the individual authors. They are made available free of charge from this page as a service to the community under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivative Works license version 3.0. For full details go to http://creativecommons.org.licenses/ny-nd.3.0
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/3976
Published: York University
Citation: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences
ISBN: 978-1-55014-521-2
Date: 2009

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