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Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity (BCSIA Studies in International Security) [Paperback]

Brenda Shaffer
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2002 0262692775 978-0262692779

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.

Editorial Reviews


"One of the few works that looks seriously at Iranian Azerbaijan, Shaffer's book is a major contribution to the history of both Iranian and Soviet nationality policies." Ronald Grigor Suny, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

"A very comprehensive and interesting intellectual endeavor that will interest specialists on identity, the Middle East, and post-Soviet studies, as well as the citizens of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan." Hamlet Isaxanli, President and Founder of Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan

About the Author

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).

Product Details

  • Series: Belfer Center Studies in International Security
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262692775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262692779
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Brenda Shaffer is a specialist on the Caucasus, Caspian energy, and the role of energy in foreign policy. Dr. Shaffer is a faculty member in the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa. She is also a Visiting Professor at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Dr. Shaffer previously served as the Research Director of the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent March 5, 2010
An excellent book to highlight the plight of Azerbaijani people in Iran under Persian apartheid. Azerbaijanis are suffering from one of the worst racial discriminations today in the planet. They are not allowed to learn their language or have a media or even name their streets, businesses, or even kids with an Azerbaijani name. As a matter of fact Azerbaijani language is considered a foreign language according to Iranian regulations and is banned from any sort of usage unless authorized by the goverment!!!! Thanks Brenda.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars As an Iranian this is an INSULT to my Nation. July 7, 2012
As an Iranians whose lived in Iran for most of my life, I have to bring the truth to the mass.
First of all PERSIANS in iran don't exist. Persians were an empire made of small tribes, persian is NOT an ethnicity. The reason many Iranians call themselves Persian in America is because of discrimination that we face, so we try to distant ourselves from Iran when we are faced with rasicm. Sorry if that's too blunt but it's the truth. Second of all Iran is a multicultural country, There are so many different ethnicities, such as Azeri,Balouchi,Arabi,Loeuri,Gilani,Fars,Esfehani,etc......and all of these ethnicities have been mixing for THOUSANDS of years!Do you see where I'm going with this? There are no pure race in Iran, specially in the urban cities like Tehran.There are 14 million people in Tehran, do you know how many speak Azeri? about 1/3, and the rest have Azeri mix in them. Many powerful leaders in Iran speak Azeri, for example the superme leader Ali Khamenei speaks Azeri. Everyone is free to speak Azeri or any other language as they want. They are many pop songs that are in Arabic,Azeri,loeuri....the list goes on. The notion that Azeri identity is lost in iran IS A BIG FAT LIE. I have no idea why Brenda Shaffer,would write something like this??? I encourage everyone to read this article if you really want to understand the IRANIAN culture and nationalism. [...]
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Although the title of the book might suggest otherwise Brenda Shaffer deals with both the independent Republic of Azerbaijan and their Southern co-ethnics in Iranian Azerbaijan. She offers the reader an extensive and a well-documented account of Azerbaijani Identity in Iran and Azerbaijan from beginning of the 20th century and up till present. She analyzes and gives new answers to old controversies; i.e. the deceleration of an autonomous republic in southern Azerbaijan at the end of the 2WW. Later on she offers a thorough analysis on the impact of the Iranian revolution, the Russian revolution, the break-up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent independence of northern Azerbaijan on the Azeri identity. Throughout the book she argues that there is a common Azeri identity that transcends the almost 200-year-old division between south and north Azerbaijan. The investigation and analysis does not limit itself to the historical and political arena, she does also deal with cultural, lingual, religious and social sides of life in the two Azerbaijans. All in all, the book stands out as an excellent rough guide to Azerbaijani society and modern history.
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