Call for Papers: Culture and Practices of Resilience in Kurdistan

13 11 2015


Submission Deadline: 31 December, 2015


XIII Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO), Department of Political and Social Sciences, Department of Humanities, University of Catania, Italy, 17-19 March 2016.


Kurdistan is a country of borders – a geographical historical, demographical, and political anomaly with borders running across and throughout its territory, yet never fully defined by political boundaries. Since the 1960s there has been a steady and increasing migration of Kurdish refugee communities to European countries, caused mostly by agricultural industrialization and the internal war between state power and Kurdish guerrilla forces. According to White (2000: 121), at least two million Kurds in Turkey alone were forced out of their villages and cities between 1993 and 1999. On the one hand, with the Kurdish community dispersed throughout the Middle East and Europe, the realization of Kurdish claims for autonomy or a state of their own has now become ever less plausible (Romano, 2006: 258). On the other hand, the Kurdish diaspora has become ever vital for the advancement of Kurdish demands and national identity as well as their internationalization (McDowall, 2004: 455-56). In this light, the Kurdish question is no more a merely regional question but has become an international one.

In view of these considerations, our panel aims to bring together scholars in Kurdish Studies and related fields in order to explore the resilience of Kurdish culture and practices in Kurdistan. We are especially interested in the Kurdish migratory movement and its political, social, and historical ramifications. To this end, participants are encouraged to examine how spatial aspects of belonging and the experiences of displacement, exile, the loss of environment, trauma, and longing are indexed through language, culture, literature, and politics among Kurdish communities. In particular, we would like to explore the various aspects of Kurdish identity, culture, and politics with a specific emphasis on the urgent need for re-defining, re-framing, and re-narrating the Kurds’ position in the Middle East and the world—as well as deconstructing the imposed national definitions, geographical frames, and historical narratives arbitrarily attached to them.

Scholars interested in presenting a paper should submit a 150-200 word abstract, along with CV, to directors Servet Erdem, University of Oxford,, and Francesco Marilungo, University of Exeter, by 31 December 2015.

Applicants will be notified by 20 January 2016. For further information about the conference visit