Return Of The Circassian World: May The Force Be With You by Jade Cemre Erciyes

circassianworld website

Written for the return of the Circassian World Website on January 2018

When Metin Sönmez, the renowned creator of the CircassianWorld and AbkhazWorld Websites, besides many others, asked me to write an article for the return of the CircassianWorld by the beginning of 2018, after a break of more than 4, I got very excited. There were so many things to tell about what it meant for me in the past, what it means for me today, and what it will mean for academics, researchers or journalists working on the Circassian people the moment it becomes online. It is not that easy to start writing this article from its main topic for various reasons. First of all, someone, not much knowledgeable about Circassians may be reading this piece. Besides, I do not want to just narrate a self-reflexive story or a list of key points acknowledging the value of the CircassianWorld. I decided to design this paper as a resource for researchers who may, one day, be interested in the development of the Circassian scholarship. To reflect upon this, it is important for me to start with a short introduction about the earliest works on the Circassian people and the Caucasus. This is followed by a short review of works focusing on the diasporisation of the Circassians – or in other words, the events of the 19th Century. This part is a response to a question that I frequently hear in the diaspora which I had been meaning to write for a long time (and I do in my forthcoming book in Turkish). As the events of the 19th century are usually squeezed into a single date “21 May 1864” but the reality is not that simple. I leave the detailed analysis to historians, but my effort is just to give an idea to uninformed readers. The second part of the article will be on the formation of the Circassian scholarship and some milestones (including various conferences and meetings) that I see as key to understanding the efforts that brought the scholarship to this day. I surely am missing some other crucial events or formations, but hopefully they will be added in time through your comments and suggestions. I will conclude with the Circassian World and at that moment I hope you will understand why this “Star Wars” referenced title suits well to this article.

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