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The first head of the department was doctor of historical sciences, Prof.Sh.Tagiyeva (since 1976). Since 2009, the department was headed by PhD in economy, lead researcher Akram Bije.At the moment, the head of the department PhD in history Samad Bayramzadeh (2015).

It should be noted that problems of South Azerbaijan had largely been explored by the “History and economy of Iran” department of the Institute of Oriental Studies after Z.M.Buniyadov ANAS. South Azerbaijan-related questions dealt with the national-liberation movement of 1941-1946, specifically, establishment of the Azerbaijani national government, its activity in various directions; activity of various social and political organizations; cultural and spiritual life of Azerbaijan; causes of origin, driving forces and defeat of the movement. These questions were mirrored in the research works of M.V.Davali, I.Q.Ibrahimi, K.Mamedov, M.Cheshmazer, S.Mirzazadeh, F.Dastqoshazadeh, S.Samedov, J.Aleskerov, H.Bulluri, M.Vilai, etc.

It has to be kept in mind that earlier stages of the national-liberation movement in South Azerbaijan were in the focus of attention of department’s research workers. Worthy of note is a monograph by Sh.Tagiyeva “National-liberation movement in Iranian Azerbaijan, 1917-1920” issued in 1956. The monograph takes up various aspects of the Sheikh M.Khiyabany-led Tabriz rebellion of 1920.

A department titled “History of South Azerbaijan” was set up at the Institute of Oriental Studies after Z.M.Buniyadov ANAS in 1976. The department was led by Sh.Tagiyeva. A group of young, inquisitive, talented researchers entered the research papers scene over a short period of time, specifically in 1978-1979, who later turned into mature scholars. These included N.Nasibzadeh, S.Bayramzadeh, J.Vekilov, V.Mustafayev, N.Bayramly, S.Ganjaliyeva, etc. To sum up, the department made a great contribution to the complex study of historical questions of South Azerbaijan, bringing results of research papers activity to broader layers of scholars.

The first fundamental work “An essay on the history of South Azerbaijan” edited by Sh.Tagiyeva was issued in 1985. The monograph came as a result of consistent, systematic and fundamental research into various questions of the history of South Azerbaijan over a period 1828 to 1917. The monograph takes up social and economic, political and cultural situation in South Azerbaijan, its economic and cultural, revolutionary and political relations with North Azerbaijan. Some chapters of the book were written by S.Tagiyeva, T.Ibrahimov, A.Habibov, O.Melikov, N.Mamedzadeh, Q.Kandli, M.Shamsi and A.Zunuzi. For in-depth and all-round analysis of the problem, appropriate materials of outstanding scholars Z.Abdullayev, R.Seyidov, A.Agahi and A.Aminzadeh were used in the monograph. The book was edited and prepared for the press by department’s research workers Z.Majidova, S.Bayramzadeh, N.Nasibzadeh and N.Bayramova.

Over the past 15 years after the creation of the department, PhD theses were written, later issued in the form of monographs to work out questions as follows: history of Tabriz in the 19 century (S.Ganjaliyeva); South Azerbaijani enlighteners (N.Bayramova); shaping of national consciousness in South Azerbaijan (V.Mustafayev); Azerbaijani-Iranian cultural ties in the first half of the 20 century (J.Vekilov); political, economic social and cultural development in South Azerbaijan (1947-1962 – S.Z.Bayramzadeh; 1962-1977 – N.I.Nasibzadeh; creation and activity of the Azerbaijani Democratic Party (M.Cheshmazar).

The reviewed period was marked by painstaking job of researchers over an essay to cover next periods of the history of South Azerbaijan. The department prepared for the press a big article titled “South Azerbaijan” as a part of materials of the 10th volume of the Azerbaijani Soviet Encyclopedia issued in 1987 (Sh.Tagiyeva and S.Bayramzadeh). The article deals with some questions which failed to be analyzed in the 1st volume of the “Essay on the history of South Azerbaijan, 1828-1917”. These included detailed information about ethnography, folklore, literature, linguistic features of southern Azerbaijanis; architecture and arts, science and health, radio and television, libraries, etc.

At present, department’s research workers are engaged in analyzing the questions above. In 1988, a monograph devoted to the analysis of the national-liberation movement in the First World War, 1914-1918 – “Liberation movement in South Azerbaijan” (A.M.Habibov). In 1989, a collective work titled “Questions of history of South Azerbaijan” (edited by Sh.Tagiyeva and N.Nasibzadeh) was first issued. Also, in 1994 a textbook “The history of Azerbaijan” for higher students edited by Acad.Z.M.Buniyadov and Y.B.Yusifov was published. A chapter of the textbook (vol.1) (S.Z.Bayramzadeh) titled “South Azerbaijan, 1828-1917) came as a result of department’s activity.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union later 1980s – earlier 1990s, conflicts and confrontation in the former Soviet Republics within the framework of national movements, currently continuing Azerbaijani-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, new international relations, including those due to the Islamic Republic of Iran” led to the closing of the department” History of South Azerbaijan”. It was substituted for “Group of Research papers Studies of South Azerbaijan” under “History and Economy of Iran” department. In the years that ensued the groups’ researchers went on their work over subsequent volumes, of “Survey the history of South Azerbaijan”, and a new edition is likely to appear shortly. It was efforts of the groups’ researchers that made it possible to a reference-book “South Azerbaijan” (Sh.Tagiyeva, A.Bije, and S.Bayramzadeh) and a monograph “National-democratic movement in South Azerbaijan (1941-1946) (A.Bije). Re-issued was collected articles “Questions of South Azerbaijan’s history” (1991). Besides, “History and economy of Iran” published two books devoted to South Azerbaijan – “South Azerbaijan: national consciousness (first half of the 20 century) and “Research into South Azerbaijan’s question” (V.Mustafayev). The first work deals with political, economic, social and cultural facts that contributed to the formation of national consciousness, stages and distinctive features of its development, national consciousness’ role in people’s unity’ shaping; the second book examines historiography of South Azerbaijan.

For some time past, department’s research workers have been successful in studying various aspects of South Azerbaijan’s history, present-day social, political, economic and cultural state of the country. Thus, numerous monographs have so far been issued to deal with a leader of national-liberation movement in South Azerbaijan in 1941-1946, prominent thinker and intellectual, revolutionary and democrat S.Pishevari. These monographs include A.Bije’s “Seyid Jafar Pishevari. Life and social-political activity” (Baku, 2009); idem “S.Pishevari” (issued in Trabzon, Turkey); “S.Pishevari: Meshele Javid” (Qum, 2014); “Seyid Jafar Pishevari: prison memoirs” (Baku, 2014). The department also published a monograph of the distinguished historian, Dr.Samed Sardariniyani “Massacre on both banks of Araz” (translated by A.Maralanly, Baku, 2006); collected articles titled “From the history of struggle for liberation: the Khiyabani movement – 90 “research papers editor A.Rahimli, Baku, 2011); a monograph “South Azerbaijan during the First World War” by south Azerbaijanian scholar Tahid Melikzadeh Dilmagani (translated from Farsi into Azeri by J.Mirzayeva (Baku, 2011); idem “Azerbaijan in the first years of Pahlavi epoch” (translated by J.Mirzayeva).

For some time past, the research papers potential and cadre base of the department is gaining momentum; directions of their research activity and topics of analysis are in keeping with call of the time; many issues are chosen as subjects for dissertation.

A dissertation titled “Karabakh issue in the Caucasian policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1991-2005” was defended at the department (S.Talybly) and presently the work is going to be published as a monograph. Underway is the work over  dissertations, including “Struggle of South Azerbaijanis for their native language in post-revolutionary Iran, 1979-2005) (Y.Hajiyeva); “Massacres of Armenians against Azerbaijanians in western regions of South Azerbaijan, 1918” (H.Safari); “Ethno-demographic conditions in western regions of South Azerbaijan (modern period) (J.Mirzayeva) and “Development of national consciousness in South Azerbaijan after the Islamic Revolution in Iran” (Sh.Rustamova). Also, a research is currently in progress to examine historical monuments in the western region of South Azerbaijan (R.Rustamov).

Note that two research works are nearing their completion: “South Azerbaijan during Pahlavides, 1925-1979” by A.Bije and “National-democratic movement in South Azerbaijan, 1941-1946 as set forth in the Iranian historiography” by S.Talybly. Department staff’s research work “South Azerbaijan: history and modernity” (editor-in-chief S.Bayramzadeh, editor Sh.Rustamova) is prepared for the press.

Also “South and North Azerbaijan: encyclopedic calendar (major historical events, and men of letters)” by A.Rahimly and S.Bayramzadeh was published (Baku, “Apastroff, 2014, 344p). At present “Analysis of historical and cultural questions of South Azerbaijan in the writings of Samed Sardariniyan” (S.Talybly), “A place of South Azerbaijan in the present-day Iranian regional policy” (S.Bayramzadeh) research works are underway.

It should be noted that round table meetings are held on Fridays where topical social, political, economic and cultural questions of South Azerbaijan are regularly discussed.

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