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GUST Professor Lectures at Oxford University

14 June 2021




Kuwait City, 14 June 2021: Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Science at GUST, Dr. Sara Rzayeva, gave a talk online for Oxford University titled “Rural Azerbaijan: Land Reforms, Migration, and Moral Economy in the Post-Soviet Period”. The talk was part a conference titled “Beyond the Boom: Toward Human and Social” which took place from May 6 to June 10 and held via Zoom. Dr. Rzayeva’s talk was held on May 20 and participated as part of an invitation from the Russian and East European Studies Programme (REES) of Oxford’s School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA) and the Oxford Nizami Ganjavi Centre (ONGC).


Dr. Rzayeva’s presentation examined the curious case of “Dutch Disease”, a paradox that describes good news harming a nation’s broader economy, in Azerbaijan. She gave an example by emphasizing how the oil sector accounts for 60% of Azerbaijan's revenues, but employs only 1% of the labor force. Agriculture accounts for 6% of the GDP, but employs 40% of the labor force. The presentation looked at the historical development and current structures of this phenomenon, demonstrating the role of land redistribution, migration, and rural moral economies. Moral economy, a concept popularized by the British historian E.P. Thompson, refers to the notion that human populations are not just material beings but act according to collective ideas of what is ‘right and just’. Dr. Rzayeva traced the contested change in the collective notions of ‘right and just' in rural Azerbaijan in the post-Soviet period in connection to migration and land reforms.


Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Sara Rzayeva said “I was very glad that these discussions took place. Understanding people and their ideas about economic orders is central to understanding economic development”.


Dr. Rzayeva’s participation is a testament to GUST faculty members constant strive for academic excellence. Recently, Dr. Sali Hammad gave a talk at Kingston University-London sharing her work at GUST as well.