Yelena Abdullayeva successfully defended her thesis, "Crafting the Modern Woman in Azerbaijan: Muslim Women, the State, and Modernity, 1900–1939," on August 18, 2020. Relying on a unique body of sources including handwritten manuscripts, literary works, unpublished memoirs, periodicals, correspondence, and political parties’ records, Yelena explored the little-known history of cultural transformation initiated by Azerbaijani reformers between the 1850s and the 1930s. She argued that the new cultural settings that emerged after the incorporation of Azerbaijan into the Russian empire, such as new means of communication and new types of sociability, gave rise to secular modernist reformers.
Dr. Abdullayeva is currently working on writing the book that is the outcome of her dissertation. She has applied for a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship to begin in May, 2021 at the EURUS – Carleton University’s Institute of Russian and Eurasian History, Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus. There she plans to examine the role of health and medicine in the complex relations between colonizing power and the colonized. The proposed project will be the first to examine the dramatic impact of the Communist regime's unified health system and its forced urbanization policies, on the well-being of semi-nomadic and nomadic Muslim herders of the South Caucasus.
Yelena's research drew on the diversity of faculty expertise demonstrated by the Tri-U Program. Her supervisor was Dr. Renee Worringer from Guelph, while Dr. Susan Roy (Waterloo) served as her administrative advisor. Her committee included Dr. Eva Plach (Laurier) and Dr. Gary Bruce (Waterloo).
The Tri-University Graduate Program in History is a unique community of scholars and mentors that has provided exceptional teaching and guidance throughout my doctoral studies.