Journal of Balkan and Black Sea Studies, vol.1, no.2, pp.31-55, 2019 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)
This article deals with the specificities of Azerbaijani nation-building between 1900 and 1920. To do this, first it explores the rise of nationalism and the main theoretical approaches trying to illuminate this process. Secondly, it investigates the scholarship about the Azerbaijani national movement in the beginning of the XXth century using first and second hand sources. It shows that, backed by the wealthy classes, the Azerbaijanis first looked for the recognition of their particularity in a colonial context to protect their rights and culture and that gradually the movement evolved from a rights-based reformism founded on religious identity to a secular political movement of national autonomy and independence. The article defends also that the success and popularity of the movement was due to its leaders’ rich intellectual formation and political experience which enabled them to formulate a strong ideology rooted in the national identity, conditioned by regional political facts and a realistic understanding of western civilization including its modern political institutions.