PD Dr. Susanne Fehlings

Academic Staff

Email: Susanne.fehlings (at) gmail.com
Office hours:
registration per Email
Room: Frobenius Institut

Research Interests

Region: Eastern Europe, Black Sea Resgion (Crimea, South Caucasus), Central Asia; Global China, Silk Road Countries;
Thematic focus: Urban Anthropology, Social- and Economic Anthropology, Anthropology of the State, Bureaucracy, Anthropology and Science Fiction, Memory Studies.

Contact person for the area "The Caucasus"

Politically, the Caucasus comprises parts of the Russian Federation in the north and the independent post-Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia (South Caucasus) in the south. Geographically, this area is situated between the Black and Caspian Seas. It is characterised by coastal zones and mountain ranges and includes arid deserts and steppes, as well as temperate-continental and subtropical-humid areas. The population is heterogeneous. In addition to the so-called "titular nations", ethnic groups from whose ethnonym the names of the nation-states are derived – Armenians, Azeri and Georgians, one also finds other ethnic and religious minorities such as Juhuro ("mountain Jews"), Molokans, Yazidis, Assyrians, and Kurds. On the one hand, from an internal and external perspective, the Caucasus is imagined as a connecting link between East and West, Asia and Europe and Orient and Occident. On the other hand, as reflected in the writings of Russian and European authors of the 19th century, this area is considered isolated and dangerous. In these novels, one can find romantic descriptions of "wild" mountain peoples and their concepts of honour. Despite all the exaggerations, both ideas are rather justified.

Historically, trade routes and migratory flows connected with the ancient Silk Road ran through the Caucasus. To this day, the Caucasus is a transit zone and brings together a wide variety of people and worldviews. At the same time, the region has been and is ravaged by conflicts and wars that can be traced back throughout history to changing power relations. Such conflicts continue to threaten social, political and economic security today and shape external contacts. Globally powerful nations such as the USA, Russia, Iran and Turkey, and more recently China, are interested in the natural resources of the Caspian Sea and in the geostrategic location of the Caucasus. At the same time, they consider the region as a periphery that appears foreign to some extent in terms of its cultural values and constellations.

The eventful history of the Caucasus, the ethnic and religious diversity, as well as the social, legal, political, economic and linguistic characteristics make the Caucasus a very interesting area of research for social and cultural anthropologists. However, despite favourable research conditions and support by local researchers and institutions, the Caucasus region remains underrepresented in the anthropological scholarship.

The projects carried out by our researchers, doctoral students and local students in the Caucasus cover a wide range of topics. They range from urban anthropology and local economics to religious identities and reproductive technologies. In addition to research contacts, our institute also cooperates with local universities that provide student exchange and support for student research projects.

Cooperation

Yerevan State University, Armenia
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia

>South Asia
>Central Asia


Current Academic Position/Projects

Leader of the Volkswagen Foundation funded research project:  „Informal Markets and Trade in Central Asia and the Caucasus“; Researcher at the Frobenius Institut for Research in Cultural Anthropology at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main; Fellow of the Johanna Quandt Young Academy at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Projects

The Immediate Consequences—and Projected Long-Term Impact—of the Corona Crisis on Informal Markets and Trade in Eurasia
06/2021-05/2022.

Informal Markets and Trade in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
06/2016-05/2020.


Education

2021-2023 Fellow of the Johanna Quandt Young Academy at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
November 2020 Habilitation at the Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Faculty of Philosophy and History; Venia Legendi for Anthropology; Title: „Traders, Informal Trade and Markets between the Caucasus and China”
April 2014 PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen; (Review: magna cum laude, Defensio and Disputatio: summa cum laude); Thesis title: „Jerewan: Urbanes Chaos und soziale Ordnung“
2009–2013 PhD Program at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen
2001–2007 Master (Magister) of Art at the Departmen of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen; Thesis title: “Ruhestätten in bester Lage: Räumliche Ordnungen sozialer Werte auf Friedhöfen in Simferopol/Krim“
2004–2005 Studies in Anthropology and Russian Studies at the Faculty of History of the Lomonosow University, Moscow (MGU)
2000–2001 Studies in Archaeology and Art History at the Université de Paris – Sorbonne, Paris IV

Publications

(Peer reviewed)

2020 (with Hasan H. Karrar) Negotiating State and Society: The Normative Informal Economies of Central Asia and the Caucasus 
Central Asian Survey, 39 (1): 1-10.
2019 Doing Business in Yabaolu Market, Beijing: (Inter-)ethnic Entrepreneurship, Trust and Friendship between Caucasian and Chinese Traders     
Central Asian Survey, 39 (1): 95-115.
2019 Encounters at the Grassroots Level: Chinese-Georgian Interactions in the BRI Era                                                                               Caucasus Analytical Digest 111: 14-17.
2018 Informal Trade and Globalization in the Caucasus and post-Soviet Eurasia,
in Stephan-Emmrich, M. & Schröder, Ph. (eds.). Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas: Rethinking Translocality Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus. Open Book Publishers: 229-262.
2017 From Chelnoki to Global Players: Encounters in the Context of Caucasian (-Chinese) Trade since the 1990s,
Paideuma 63: 183-205.
2017 The Chinese Connection – Informal Trade Relations between the Caucasus and China since the Early 1990s                                             
Caucasus Analytical Digest 96: 2-5.
2017 Armenian History in Urban Everyday Life,
Habitus: Studies in Anthropology and Archaeology 2: 10-41.
2017 (reprint)
The Ignoble Savage in Urban Yerevan,
in Schröder, Ph. (ed.). Urban Spaces and Lifestyles in Central Asia and Beyond. London & New York: Routledge: 51-73.
2016 The Ignoble Savage in Urban Yerevan,
Central Asian Survey 35/2: 195-217.
2015 Intimacy and Exposure – Yerevan’s Private and Public Space,
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 7/8: 513-532.
2010 The Private and the Public Spheres in Yerevan, as observed from an Anthropologist from abroad,
Armenian Popular Culture XV, Tradition and Modernity in Armenian Culture. 2010. Yerevan: Gitutyun pub.; Armenian Academy of Sciences: 108-118.
2010 Die Kaskade von Jerewan, Armenien,
Trialog 105, 2/2010: 38-41.


(Non-refereed)

2018 Caucasian “Biznes” (Business)—Informality, Cultural Embeddedness, and the Global World,
Anthropological Researches IV, Tbilisi: Association of Georgian Anthropologists: 24-40.
2018 (with Hamlet Melkumyan)
Introduction: Transnational Trade, Trade Routes, and Local Marketplaces between the Caucasus and Central 
Anthropological Researches IV, Tbilisi: Association of Georgian Anthropologists: 8-13.
2017 (with Karina Iwe and Jeanne Féaux de la Croix)
Theoretical Promises und Practical Implementation: Interdisciplinary Encounters between Archaeologists and Ethnologists in a Collaborative Research Centre (SFB),
in: Scholz, A.K. & Bartelheim, M. & Hardenberg, R. & Staecker, J. ResourceCultures: Sociocultural Dynamics and the Use of Resources – Theories, Methods, Perspectives. Tübingen: 57-69.
2016 (together with Roland Hardenberg)
Informality Reviewed: Everyday Experiences and the Study of Transformational Processes in Central Asia and the Caucasus,
Working Paper Series on Informal Markets and Trade 2.
2016 (together with Hasan Karrar)
Informal Markets and Trade in the Caucasus and Central Asia: A Preliminary Framework for Field Research,
Working Paper Series on Informal Markets and Trade 1.
2012 Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit,
in: Kaschuba, W. & Krebs, M. & Pilz, M. (Hrsg.). 2012. Die Postsowjetische Stadt: Aushandlungsprozesse im Südkaukasus, Berliner Blätter, Sonderheft 59. Berlin: Panama Verlag: 150-167.

Editorship

2020 (mit Hasan Karrar) Informal Markets and Trade in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Central Asian Survey 38 (1), Routledge.
2018 (mit Hamlet Melkumyan)
Transnational Trade, Trade Routes, and Local Marketplaces between the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Anthropological Researches IV, Tbilisi: Association of Georgian Anthropologists.
Seit 2016 (mit Yulia Antonyan, Hasan H. Karrar, Ketevan Khutsishvili, Hamlet Melkumyan, Philippe Rudaz und John Schoeberlein) Working Paper Series on Informal Markets and Trade.
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main: Electronic Library, ISSN: 2510-2826.

Bücher/Monographien:
 

2014 Jerewan: Urbanes Chaos und soziale Ordnung.
Münster & Berlin: LIT-Verlag. (Dissertation)
2008 Ruhestätten in bester Lage: Räumliche Ordnungen sozialer Werte auf Friedhöfen in Simferopol/Krim.
Münster: LIT-Verlag.

Andere:
 

2017 Post-Soviet (Caucasian) Businessmen in Beijing: From “Chelnoki” to “Globalization from Below”,
CESMI-BLOG
2017 Report: Informal Markets and Trade in the Caucasus and Central Asia,
in: Kavkaz: Past, Present, Future (Instytut Historii Universytetu Rzeszowskiego, No. 3: 235–236.
2015 Interview with Susanne Fehlings about ‘Yerevan: urban Chaos and Social Order’
(durchgeführt von Dr. Madlen Pilz)
2015 Errord Mas, Yerevan: A Quarter for the Working Class
2012 Capital Cities in Transformation: Spaces, Actors and Transfers (Bericht, Workshop des Sonderforschungsbereichs 640, 08.-09. September 2011),
in: Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 108. Jahrgang 2012, Heft 1:108–111.
2012 (mit Melanie Krebs) Every Change is an Object of Research“: Interview with Levon Abrahamian,
in: Kaschuba, W. & Krebs, M. & Pilz, M. (Hrsg.). 2012. Die Postsowjetische Stadt: Aus­handlungs­prozesse im Südkaukasus (Berliner Blätter, Sonderheft 59). Berlin: Panama Verlag: 170–182.
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