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Poetry, Azeri IDP/Refugee Woman, and the Nagorno-Karabakh War

Mehrangiz Najafizadeh


Azerbaijan and Armenia share a long and complex history of ethnic conflict dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s. This conflict escalated into a full-fledged war—the Nagorno-Karabakh War—in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulting in the forced displacement of an estimated one million Azeris, some of whom had been living in neighboring Armenia but the majority of whom had been living in the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent districts within Azerbaijan. This displacement has had particularly severe consequences for the hundred of thousands of Azeri women who were forced from their homes and who continue to live as IDPs [internally dispaced persons] or as refugees.

In this paper, I examine Armenian-Azeri ethnic conflict and the plight of Azeri IDP/refugee women both in social historical context and through the on-going field research that I have been conducting in Azerbaijan. In doing so, I focus in detail on Azeri IDP/refugee poetry as it is interwoven with Azeri IDP/refugee women's experiences with the tragedies of war and the realities of forced displacement.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the Association of Global South Studies.