The Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR) at Ilia State University was established in 2014 as a successor to the Institute of the Study of Modernity. Its purpose is to investigate the most pressing issues facing the present, as well as the past, of Georgia and the Caucasus. The Institute encourages scholars to engage in interdisciplinary research and to transcend disciplinary boundaries in their work, thereby supporting the emergence of novel theoretical frameworks through which to explore new objects of study.
Research at the ISCR spans a broad swath of Georgian and Caucasian history, encompassing political, cultural, and social phenomena from the medieval period to today. Political theology, political economy, imperial governance and ideology, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of nation-state formation, Georgia’s encounters with modernity and with successive projects of modernization combine to form the Institute’s expansive area of inquiry. Most research projects at ISCR are grouped under four core research areas: (1) Political Theology in Georgia; (2) Imperial Paradigms; (3) Republics of Georgia, and (4) Infrastructures and Ecologies. At the same time, the ISCR welcomes scholars in the humanities and social sciences working on other aspects of Georgian and Caucasian history.
ISCR is affiliated with a number of other ongoing research programs at Ilia State University, including with the doctoral programs in Cultural Studies and Social and Cultural Anthropology. These supplement the Institute’s four core research areas with additional two core areas of research and instruction. These partnerships reflect the Institute’s methodological approach, which strives to investigate current and historical social and political phenomena in Georgia and the Caucasus in their symbolic-cultural expression and to ethnographically grasp their historical origins and lived experience. These partnerships also serve to better integrate concurrent research and teaching efforts.
In the past, ISCR has partnered with several local and international research organizations and foundations. These include the Berlin Center for Literature and Culture, the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam, the Social Justice Center, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Open Society Foundation – Georgia, the Reserve Fund of the President of Georgia, and the Heinrich Boell Foundation Tbilisi Office.