In the Caucasus We Count

WiP: Linguistic Dimensions of Ethno-National Identity in Dagestan, 23 April - Kendra Dias


American Councils, CRRC and ARISC present the 10th talk in the Spring 2014 Works-in-Progress Series!

Kendra Dias, Central European University
'Linguistic Dimensions to ethno-national identity: the Avars of contemporary Dagestan'

Wednesday, 23 April, 2014 at 6:15pm
EPF/CRRC-Georgia, Kavsadze St. 3, Tbilisi

This research investigates the “everyday” aspects of language choice in multilingual Dagestan in order to evaluate the importance of ethnicity and identity related motivations. Specifically, by looking at Avars in their titular rural spaces and the urban capital, the thesis assesses the changes in the traditional multilingualism of Dagestan as a result of mandatory bilingualism as subjects of the Russian Federation. While not strictly refuting the importance of rational choice theory, the work will consider with more complexity the reasons why, although Dagestani languages are endangered, speakers do not interpret such endangerment or fear linguistic extinction in the globalizing world.

Kendra Dias holds a BA in Eurasian Studies from Smith College and is currently finishing a Master’s Degree in Nationalism Studies at CEU. She has an upcoming publication in the book project Caucasus Knot and will be participating in several upcoming conferences including a presentation on the cultural anthropology of food in the Caucasus at ELTE in Budapest, Hungary. Kendra will begin as Assistant Professor at the Universidad de la Amazonia in Florencia, Colombia in September.


W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to