Shifting Dynamics of the Kurdistan Question in a Changing Middle East
Over 35 million Kurds live under the national jurisdictions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria where the Kurdish identity, culture, linguistic rights, homeland and own political representation are contested and contained in most cases by the force of arms. Consequently, the combination of authoritarian state ideologies, the systematic and recurrent use of state violence in these countries has led to the rise of Kurdish opposition. In turn, the ruling states have further used the Kurdish resistance as a pretext to reinforce draconian policies of negation, assimilation and elimination of Kurdish national aspirations. The 20th century has marked the most repressive state policies against the Kurdish quest for self-determination.
At the turn of the 21st century, however, various political developments suggest a shift for the Kurds. The regime change in Iraq in 2003, the ongoing civil war in Syria and the emergence of ISIS were among the watershed events that have not only changed the balance of power in the Middle East but also the perception and position of the Kurds in the global political system. The establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Kurdistan-Iraq, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and the rise of pro-Kurdish political parties in Kurdistan-Turkey have given rise to the political visibility of the Kurds in international politics. The old borders and boundaries that separated the Kurds are becoming increasingly ineffective. These crucial developments have deepened the sovereignty crisis of the oppressive regional states.
Simultaneously with this emerging new political geography and visibility of the Kurds, the number of scholarly studies on the “Kurdish Question” and “Kurdistan Question” has rapidly increased in recent years. The “Kurdistan Question” is growing into an international political issue that needs a global response to find a peaceful settlement in the region.
This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together researchers from a range of disciplines working on Kurdish history, politics, culture, gender, minority rights and diaspora to examine the ongoing political, social and cultural developments in the lives of the Kurds and Kurdistan. In this context, we seek a broad range of contributions from disciplines of sociology, politics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, gender studies, cultural studies, history, economics, law, international relations and migration studies.
Abstract submission guidelines: the maximum word limit for the abstract is 350 words. The abstract must contain a brief statement of the objectives, methodology, essential results and the conclusion of the study. The abstract must also contain the authors’ names, institutional affiliations, contact number, email and postal address. Please submit your abstract to KurdishStudies@mdx.ac.uk
This conference is organised by the Department of Politics and Law, Middlesex University, Minority Rights Group International and Centre for Kurdish Progress.
For more information, please contact Senior Research Fellow Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles.