Nercissians, Emilia

Core areas

Anthropology of Gender; Ethno linguistics and Bilingualism; Cultural Semiotics; Anthropology of Education; Post Modern Culture

Project: Nature Conservation and Livelihood in the South Caucasus
Initiated by the Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at the University of Göttingen

As the South Caucasus is a biodiversity hotspot, the governments of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan determined those regions in their countries that have a high biodiversity with regard to fauna and flora. In these areas, new national parks were implemented and already existing protected areas were submitted to changes, e.g. in terms of management and size. In addition to the initiatives by local governments to set up new protected areas, the implementation process was in the past decade supported by foreign governments, such as the German government. In order to find out what impact nature conservation has on the highly diverse local population living close to newly established national parks and already existing nature reserves, we conducted a study on four adjacent protected areas in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Two of the researched regions make up a transboundary national park area with a common border between Georgia and Armenia. In all of the researched regions, different ethnic groups live together. The only exception is Armenia, where solely Armenians live apart from a small group of transhumant Yazidi shepherds.

We conducted 33 qualitative interviews with the local administration, NGOs and farmers in the four research regions, did a quantitative survey with 300 interviews, and a Choice Experiment in the mentioned three research regions. Overall aim of the study is to grasp the opinion of people close to these protected areas on existing impacts and on estimated future impacts of nature conservation on their lives, especially as to changes in the income situation. A second goal is to find out if existing and future impacts vary between different ethnic groups based on the assumption that these different ethnic groups have diverging income sources. The results of the study shall contribute to further planning of protected areas, e.g. when zonation of these areas is envisaged.
During my time as Fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, I will write an article on the qualitative results of the research.

Selected Publications


  • Nercissians, Emilia (2010). Topics in Bilingualism from the Perspective of Social Sciences. Tehran, Iran: Cultural Heritage of Iran.
  • Nercissians, Emilia (2005-2011). Anthropology of Gender. Tehran, Iran: Afkar Pub. Co.
  • Nercissians, Emilia (2008). Human, Semiotics and Culture. Tehran, Iran: Afkar Pub. Co.
  • Nercissians, Emilia (2008). Anthropology of Education. Tehran, Iran: Afkar Pub. Co.


  • Nercissians, Emilia (2011). “Inclusion of Minorities and Extension of History”. Saint Petersburg Journal of Social Sciences. Saint Petersburg, Russia: 20 (78-90).
  • Nercissians, Emilia (2012). “The impact of Merchandalism on the Development of Safavid Dynasties Painting”. Quartly Journal of Sociology of Art. Tehran, Iran: Fall. 71-91.
  • Nercissians, Emilia (2012). “Life and Culture of Armenians in Iran”. International Sociology Association (ISA) – Language and Society: Emilia, Italy: (2) 31-54.
  • Nercissians, Emilia and Yasaman Ohadi (2013). “Identity and Daily Life of Rafsanjani Female Students”. Iranian Journal of Anthropology. Tehran Univ. Pub. (4) 56-72.