Dr Jo Laycock

Senior Lecturer in Modern History

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Research interests

My first monograph, Imagining Armenia, was published by Manchester University Press in 2009 (paperback, 2016). This drew upon postcolonial theory and critiques of Orientalism to examine how European actors engaged with regions conceived of as ‘in-between’ East and West, and with what consequences. Subsequently, the focus of my research has shifted to displacement, diasporas and humanitarianism in the ‘peripheries’ of the Soviet Union in the aftermath of two World Wars.

My current project, which has been funded by a British Academy Small Grant and Rockefeller Grant-in-Aid, addresses the aftermaths of the First World War and Armenian Genocide in the Soviet South Caucasus. It examines how Soviet authorities, the Armenian diaspora and international organisations responded to this crisis through emergency relief measures, resettlement schemes and attempts to initiate co-operative schemes for the ‘development’ of the region. More broadly, the project reconsiders the neglected place of the Soviet Union as an actor in histories of humanitarianism and the evolution of the international ‘refugee regime’. I am currently working on a monograph and also co-editing an international history of humanitarian relief and international intervention in Armenia. 

Prior to this, my second project addressed the ‘repatriation’ of diaspora Armenians to the Soviet Union after the Second World War, examining the ambiguous ways that the Soviet Union related to its diaspora communities and demonstrating how diasporic constructions of ‘homeland’ were transformed through the process of ‘homecoming’. Articles based on this work have been published in Cultural and Social History, History and Memory and Kritika.

I am also interested in histories of conflict, displacement and memory in the wider South Caucasus region. I am a member of the editorial board of Caucasus Studies journal and co-founder and chair of the BASEES study group on the Caucasus. I am also part of the editorial team for the Peripheral Histories? blog.


Research and projects

No past projects are available for public display