Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Institute of Folklore is one of the modern Azerbaijan statehood of functional heaviness of national-ideological idea base with together other social-humanitarian institutions of Academy. The activity of Institute of Folklore is to strenghten Azerbaijan national statehood, especially its national-ideological basis.
The first important pages of investigation history in scientific-organization of folklore in Azerbaijan bears the relation with the Organization of Investigation and Studying of Azerbaijan. The head of Folklore Comission in this organization which had activity during 1923-1929 years was the great folklorist Hanafi Zeynalli. On the base of the same Organization in 1929 when Azerbaijan State Scientific-Investigation Institute was created the section of Folklore of Language, Literature, Art Department was also organized. For some time the department was headed by Veli Khuluflu, but the Folklore section of the department was headed by Baba Asgerov. During the periods of Transcaucasian Branch of Scientific Academy of USSR the Oral literature section was created there (the head was H.Zeynalli). But during the periods of Azerbaijan Branch of Scientific Academy of USSR created in 1935 the Folklore section was created at the Institute of Language and Literature (the heads were H. Zeynalli, then Z.Zakirov, later A.Avadyayev). During 1920-1930 years as a result of those organizations in the branch of collecting, investigation and publication of Azerbaijan folklore a lot of work was done.
Though in 1937 a great generation of Azerbaijan folklorists were undergone to the repression (S.Mumtaz, A.Abid, V.Khuluflu, H.Zeynalli, H.Alizade and others) and a great hard blow was to the investigation of the national folklore and the scientific-organizing activity from 1939 the Folklore section continued its activity as one of three departments of Institute of Literature named after Nizami Ganjavi which was created not long ago. Later especially when Mammadhuseyn Tahmasib was chosen as a head of Folklore section in 1944 though there were obstacles and political pressures, many works were done in returning and investigating all brilliant examples of Azerbaijan folklore which were in threat, including the epos “The Book of Dede Gorgud”, valuable scientific-investigation works and collections were published.
Institute of Folklore was created on the base of Folklore department of ANAS Institute of Literature named after Nizami Ganjavi. In the Folklore department of ANAS Institute of Literature named after Nizami Ganjavi in which the famous folklorists such as Mammadhuseyn Tahmasib, Israfil Abbasli were the head, Ahliman Akhundov, Nureddin Seyidov, Mireli Seyidov, Tahmasib Farzaliyev, Bahlul Abdulla, Elkhan Mammadli, Rza Khalilov, Mukhtar Imanov, Oruj Aliyev, Maharram Gasimli, Fuzuli Bayat, Arif Ajalov, Afzaladdin Asger and other famous folklorists had great works in collecting, publishing and investigation branches of folklore. The scientific workers' roles in collecting and publishing of books such as “Azerbaijani tales” in five volumes, “Azerbaijani eposes” in five volumes, “Azerbaijani ashugs and folk poets”, the collections of mythological texts, legends and rumours, jokes, proverbs, bayati (quatrain), riddles are very important. It is necessary to remember the investigations about Azerbaijani folk eposes by M.H.Tahmasib, about Azerbaijani mythology by M.Seyidov and A.Ajalov, about folklore relations by I.Abbasli, about ceremony folklore by B.Abdulla, about legends by T.Farzaliyev, about ashug activity by M.Gasimli and E.Mammadli, about Turkic epic tradition by F.Bayat, about tale poetics by R.Khalilov, O.Aliyev, A.Asger, one can include these investigations into the important facts about the history of the Folklore department of Institute of Literature.
During 80-90 years of last century the special reviving, national-spiritual heritage and intensive discussions and debates, investigations carried out in this sphere created with the climate of democracy in the activity of the Folklore department of Institute of Literature named after Nizami needed to form the department of Mythology at the same Institute and the professor M.Seyidov was appointed as a head of that department. Reviving in folklore-study branch was a cause for sounding the new ideas about the collecting and investigation of folklore in the Scientific Council of Institute of Literature. To prepare folklore anthologies and folklore complete works for publishing were such ideas. To put into practice such ideas by the former director of the Institute of Literature, the Associate Member of the Academy of Science, professor Yashar Garayev were regardless of opportunities of Folklore department and Mythology department which had only three scientific workers. On the one hand having gained the state independence created need to investigate the most comprehensive investigations, to carry out the new scientific projects with the increasing of interests and attention to non-material cultural heritage. To approach folklore-study not only as folklore, but also as leaning to the tradition and passing by oral way, music, dance, folk information and other branches as a scientific branch, majority of works made a necessity to form a separate organization. So in 1994 the Scientific-Cultural Center “Palace of Folklore” was created at the Institute of Literature.
The private building to the center was given in Icharishahar (Old Town). To be separated from the Institute of Literature influenced to the activity of the Centre importantly.
The Scientific-Cultural Center “Palace of Folklore” had a special activity in celebration in international level the magnificent epic monument of Azerbaijan nation – 1300 annual jubilee of “Kitabi-Dede Gorgud” with the President Haydar Aliyev's decree 20th April, 1997. During those years the units of staff were increased, its structure became richer with the department of “Gorgudshunaslig” (Gorgud-study).
In 2003 with the recommendation of Haydar Aliyev who was the National Leader of Azerbaijani nation, the president of the Republic, with the decision of Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan (April 2, 2003, agreement 11/13) the Scientific-Cultural Center “Palace of Folklore” separated from the Institute of Literature, became the separate organization Institute of Folklore and Doctor of Sciences on Philology, professor Huseyn Alasgar oglu Ismayilov was chosen as a director of the Institute.
Huseyn Alasgar oglu Ismayilov was born on the 10th of December in 1952 in the village Agbulag of Krasnoselo district in Goycha region. In 1974 he graduated from the faculty of Philology at Azerbaijan State Pedagogical Institute named after V.I.Lenin (now it is called Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University) and began to work as a teacher of the Azerbaijani language and literature at school in the village of Shirazli in Ararat region of Armenia SSR. During 1976-1988 years he was a teacher of the chair Azerbaijani language, literature and their teaching, he lectured about Azerbaijani, Russian a nd foreign countries literatures. In 1986 defending the thesis “Mammad Arif as an investigator of Russian literature” he got the degree of Candidate of Philological Sciences. From 1989 he began to work as an assistant of professor in the chair “The Azerbaijani language” at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute named after M.Azizbeyov. In 1995 H.Ismayilov was appointed as an executor director of the Scientific-Cultural Center “Palace of Folklore” in the ANAS Institute of Literature named after Nizami. From 2003 till 2011 H.A.Ismayilov leaded the Institute of Folklore at ANAS. In 2004 he got the degree of Doctor of Sciences on Philology, in 2010 he got the title of Professor. He is the author of five monographies and about one hundred fifty scientific articles, he is also a collector and compiler of more than thirty folklore collections. Now he continues his work as a senior scientific worker at the institute.
Beginning its activity in 2003 the structure units of the institute were Azerbaijan folklore, Gorgud-study, Ashug activity, Folklore of Turkic nations, Theory of folklore, Mythology, Editorial-publishing department, Folklore laboratory, Scientific Archive, Shaki section and “Irs” folklore group. Later in 2005 the department of Ashug music, in 2006 Gazakh-Borchali section and in 2007 the section of Foreign relations were created. In 2007 the section of Ashug music became the scientific-investigation department of Ashug music and saz mastery.
In 2011 doctor of sciences on philology Mukhtar Kazim oglu Imanov was elected as a director of the Institute of Folklore. During 2011-2013 years the important structure changes were carried out, the new elections to the post of chairs were conducted, the attestation of the scientific workers was organized, the new scientific projects were prepared and the investigation perspectives were broaden. In modern folklore-study folklore is investigated in three directions, such as the archaic folklore, the classic folklore and the modern folklore, the structure changes were also carried out according to those directions.
Now the following scientific and scientific-subsidiary parts form the structure of ANAS Institute of Folklore: the department of Mythology, the department of Classic folklore, the department of Dede Gorgud, the department of Ceremony folklore, the department of Ashug activity, the department of Music folklore, the department of Modern folklore, the department of Turkic nations, the department of Folklore and written literature, the department of Collecting and systematizing of folklore, the department of Southern Azerbaijan folklore, the section of Folklore of limited nations, Shaki section, Gazakh-Borchali section, the section of Foreign relations, Editorial-publishing office, Folklore fund, Folklore studio, Scientific library and “Irs” folklore ensemble.
The investigations of the institute associates in the sphere of sources, formation, the objective laws of development and relations of Azerbaijani folk creativity contain four problems: Azerbaijan (Turkic) mythology: theory and experience; collecting, investigation and publishing of Azerbaijan folklore ; Gorgud-study: theory and experience ; theory and experience of the folklore of Turkic nations.
Every year more than fifty scientific investigations are implemented at the institute.
While the Institute of Folklore was Scientific-Cultural Centre “Folklore Palace” it paid a special attention to the problem of preparing multivolume anthologies. The first volume (“Nakhchivan folklore”) of the “Anthology” was compiled at the Institute of Literature, but the other volumes were prepared and published in Scientific-Cultural Centre “Folklore Palace”, then at the Institute of Folklore. As a result the numbers of these volumes are twenty three. The Institute began to publish “Complete works of Azerbaijan folklore” with the parallel “Anthology”. “Complete works” compiled according to different genres of Azerbaijan folklore was published in thirty volumes. Though in “Complete works” the formerly published materials were gathered, in “Anthology” the unpublished folklore examples and other folklore materials collected from diffe rent regions, such as Nakhchivan, Irag-Turkman, Goycha, Shaki, Garabag, Agbaba, Ganja- basar, Iravan, Zangazur, Zagatala, Derbend, Dereleyez, Agdash, Mugan, Loru- Pambak, Gazakh, Borchali are included.From the beginning years of its activity the Institute of Folklore paid a great attention to the connection of international scientific relations. For the first time as a private structure unit the section of foreign relations was created at the Institute of Folklore among the scientific-investigation institutions of ANAS. Today that section is actively busy with the establishing of international and internal scientific relations, co-ordination and realizing, organizing the common scientific legislative enactment. There are a lot of relations with Turkic Republics among these relations.
As a result of intensive relations with definite scientific organizations, famous folklorists and art critic scientists in Turkic republics since 2003 the international scientific conference called “From common Turkic past to common Turkic future” is held at the Institute of Folklore. Generally seven international conferences with that name were held.
In a short time in order to extend international scientific relations, to strenghten the integration of Azerbaijan science into international science sphere the Institute of Folklore began to the close collaboration with many organizations, such as Europe Folklore Institute of Hungary, Folklore Centre of Mexico, Folklore Investigation Institute of Italy, Folklore Museum of France, Folklore Museum of London, Folklore Investigation Centre of Turkey, Folk Art Investigation Centre of Abant Izzet Baysal University of Turkey, “Motif” Folk Plays Education and Training Center of Turkey, Huseyn Gazi Culture and Art Center of Turkey, Dogu Akdeniz University of Nothern Cyprus, Literature, Language and Art Institute of Scientific Centre of Russia Federation SA Tatarian Republic, Development Centre of Traditional Culture of Art Ministry of Tatarian Republic in Russia Federation, Institute of Literature of Scientific Centre of Dagistan Republic in Russia Federation, Unity of Caucasian Universities and so on. As an indicator of it with the organizational activities of the Institute of Folklore some international symposium and conferences were held in Turkey (on 17-18 October, 2009 in Bolu the conference called “Koroglu and history and culture of Bolu” was held with the University Abant İzzet Baysal and the Institute of Language and Literature Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences), in Cyprus (on 1-3 December, 2011 in Gazimagosa the 7th international conference called “From common Turkic past to common Turkic future” with the Dogu Akdeniz University) and in Georgia (on 18-21 April, 2012 in Tbilisi the international symposium called “The folklore and lingvoculturology of Caucasian nations” with Tbilisi State University named after I.Javakhishvili, Ardahan University of Turkey, Unity of Caucasian Universities, the Unity of Engineers and Architects of Turkic World and Valeh Hajilar International Scientific-Cultural Investigation Fund).
From 2012 the Institute of Folklore ANAS is a member of Unity of Caucasian Universities which combines about forty scientific-educational and scientific-investigaton instituties of Caucasus region and Anatolia.
The scientific investigations and books prepared by associates of the institute were honoured with the prizes and rewards of high scientific organizations, International organizations such as Kirghizistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey and other countries (the main reward of Uzbekistan International Babur Fund, the reward of Manas Academy of Uzbekistan, the Service reward to Turkic folklore by Turkey State Huseyn Gazi Art and Culture Fund, the reward of “Miras” state organization of Turkmenistan, the reward of Europe Unity Information Department etc.). Ph.D. Nemet Gasimov who is the scientific worker at the department Music folklore represented Azerbaijan ashug music in concerts held by UNESCO in Paris and Strasburg, in 2010 he was rewarded as Master of World Art and Culture by World Masters Organizing Committee. The Institute of Folklore has organized about ten combined scientific conferences with different scientific institutions of Turkey, Russia Federation, Cyprus Turkic Government, Uzbekistan and Georgia Republics, assiociates of the institute were the lecturers and the members of organizing committee in many international confrences organized in foreign countries.
Now there are two hundred twenty three associates at the Institute. Two of them are the real members (Teymur Bunyadov, Tofig Hajiyev), one is a corresponding member (Mukhtar Imanov), twenty of them are Doctor of Sciences (Teymur Bunyadov, Tofig Hajiyev, Mukhtar Imanov, Pasha Efendiyev, Jalal Beydili, Kamran Aliyev, Jalal Gasimov, Huseyn Ismayilov, Fuzuli Bayat, Seyfeddin Ganiyev, Naila Rahimbeyli, Ramazan Gafarli, Azizkhan Tanriverdiyev, Mahmud Allahmanli, Seyfaddin Rzasoy, Ramil Aliyev, Mammadali Novruzov, Fuzuli Gurbanov, Almaz Huseynova, Rustam Rustamzade,) and fourty seven are Doctor of Philosophy (Oruj Aliyev, Elchin Abbasov, Rza Khalilov, Afzaladdin Asgarov, Elkhan Mammadli, Agaverdi Khalilov, Aziz Alakbarli, Laman Suleymanova, Nubar Hakimova, Afag Ramazanova, Matanat Asgarova, Matanat Abbasova, Elmira Mammadova-Kekej, Ulkar Aliyeva, Adil Jamilov, Sonmaz Abbasli, Aynur Huseynova, Sakina Gaybaliyeva, Asif Hajiyev, Nail Gurbanov, Nigar Hasanova, Naila Asgar, Fakhraddin Bakhshaliyev, Tajir Gurbanov, Zumrud
Mansimova, Shakir Albaliyev, Rustam Rasulov, Gulkhani Shukurova, Khalyaddin Khalilov, Atif Islamzade, Galib Sayilov, Sarkhan Khavari, Vafa Ibrahimova, Ulkar Alakbarova, Ilkin Rustamzade, Fazail Orujov, Nemat Gasimov, Shamsi Muradova, Khayala Agayeva, Fidan Gasimova, Islam Sadigov, Aynur Ibrahimova, Nizami Mammadov, Chichak Afandiyeva, Tahir Orujov, Sabina Isayeva, Aposh Veliyev).
The scientific-investigation and scientific-organizing activity are leaded by the director, the corresponding member of ANAS, Doctor of Sciences on Philology Mukhtar Imanov. He is a well-known scientist on the branch of literature-study and folklore-study, he is also a talanted scientific and administrative organizer.