Azerbaijani Women Poet-Minstrels: Women ashiqs From the Eighteenth Century to the Present

Author: Oldfield, Anna C.
This work examines women ashiqs and their poetry, contextualizing their lives and works within discussions of the history, music, poetics, and social importance of the ashiq in Azerbaijan. Theoretical concerns addressed include the interplay of oral and written literature, discourse of national and transnational identities, dynamics of cooperation and resistance in the Soviet Union, the interplay of tradition and innovation in folklore, and gender roles in Azerbaijani society. This book contains sixteen black and white photographs and twelve color photographs.


“. . . presents a comprehensive, unprecedented analysis of the significant participation of women in a bardic genre in a little known region of the world of considerable geopolitical significance.” – Prof. Sarah Moment Atis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

". . . a groundbreaking study of a musical and literary world little known even to specialists in Turkic languages and cultures. . . . deftly balances social analysis of women ashiqs as a cultural phenomenon with aesthetic critique and interpretation of the art of selected ashiqs. -- Prof. Theodore Levin, Dartmouth College

"A.C. Oldfield's study is a rich mine of information on women poet-singers from Azerbaijan. Its primary value consists doubtless of having gathered fresh material, which is analysed with care and interpreted sensitively. It is a book of sound scholarship, into which the relevant research has been well integrated. It impressively demonstrates the important role of women poet-singers in a society that most observers would see as a male-dominated." -- Prof. Karl Reichl, Institut für Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Keltologie, Universität Bonn

Table of Contents

Foreword by Prof. Sarah Moment Atis
Notes on Language and Pronunciation
Part I: The World of Saz and Söz
1. Introduction
2. Azerbaijan: The Odlar Yurdu
3. The Origins of A?iq Arts
4. A?iq Arts in Performance
Part II: Lives and Times
1. The 19th Century
2. The 20th Century
Part III: Tradition and Transformation
1. 1984 and the A?iq P?ri M?clisi
2. A?iq Arts in the Contemporary World
3. Tradition and Transformation