Call for Papers: Kurdish Diasporas and New Social Locations – Making Sense of Displacement and Community Building

3 02 2016

Special issue of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies “Kurdish Diasporas and New Social Locations: Making Sense of Displacement and Community Building”. Call for Special Issue Journal to be published in 2017-2018

Guest editors: Stanley Thangaraj (City College of New York) and Aynur de Rouen (Binghamton University)

Kurdish communities have a long history of displacement, marginalization, and persecution in the Middle East. They are the largest ethnic community without a state of their own. They have faced multiple oppressions at the hands of Western, Arab, Turkish, and Persian nationalisms and colonialisms. There is now an emergence of vibrant scholarship on Kurdish diasporas in Europe, as there are large communities in Germany, Sweden, and England. However, little research has emerged in interrogating the diversity of Kurdish diasporic lives outside of Europe. Kurdish communities spread throughout the globe, in both the global north and the global south. For instance, the city of Nashville in the state of Tennessee in the United States has one of the largest community of Kurds outside of Kurdistan. Similarly, there are growing communities across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and other locations. Accordingly, each specific physical location provides very important historicities, social locations, and diverse lived experiences of diasporic Kurds that challenges the idea of singular or equivalent Kurdish identities. With the emerging literature on Kurds and Kurdistan, we emphasize the importance of Kurdish diasporic communities in new destination sites as important resources in understanding how Kurdistan is negotiated multiply, contradictorily, and in other unpredictable fashions. For example, the various locations of Kurdistan in legible national frames of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Iraq have also meant that forced national education systems with language mandates in Turkish, Arabic, and Persian has created different linguistic registers for Kurdish diasporas to make sense of their communities.

Yet, the particularity of diasporic lives also show the different and differential relationships to Kurdistan, the various constructions of Kurdistan, and the lived experiences in host nations.  As a result, a careful investigation of multiple Kurdish diasporas provides terrain for interrogating how diasporas form in relation to the host nation, to imagined contours of Kurdistan, and in relation to other Kurdish diasporic communities. The relationship between history, migration, and community building remains nuanced and complex.  On the one hand, it offers ways to think about long histories of resistance and challenge. On the other hand, it also offers us ways to talk about the complexities and problematics of community building that may inadvertently and intentionally create its own sets of subjugation and exclusion.

This special issue aims to explore the changing social and cultural landscape of Kurdish diaspora by engaging with many diasporic sites as a way to complicate understandings of diaspora, Kurdistan, and local lived experiences of identity. Through established and emerging theoretical perspectives, and original empirical studies, the objective of the volume is to provide a critical (re-)examination of the roles that new locations and social histories have in differently inflecting Kurdish identity across various diasporic sites. In the process, we aim to trouble, complicate, and challenge conceptualizations of “diaspora.” We invite paper proposals and abstracts that critically engage with Kurdish diasporas in new destination sites or previous understudied place. Though by no means limited to these questions, we anticipate that papers might address the following topics:

  • How do multiple lived experiences and different forms of migration as well as residence link the various sites and communities of diaspora and homeland(s)? How do localized performances of Kurdish identity and host national identity facilitate imaginaries of “home” within the diaspora?
  • In what ways do these new locations facilitate the construction and articulation of “new ethnicities” / diasporic Kurdish identities?
  • How do the various social locations and lived experiences complicate and multiply inflect Kurdish identity? What is the relation of host nation, lived experiences, and visions of Kurdistan?
  • How are femininities, masculinities, queer identities and other forms of intersectionality articulated through Kurdish communities?
  • What are the implications of the “War on Terror”, empire and neoliberal politics for citizenship and community building in the Kurdish diasporas?
  • How do the ISIS campaigns and Turkish state violence become a means of negotiating longer histories of trauma, pain, struggle, creativity, and possibility in Kurdish diasporas?
  • What role does race play out in not only deciphering localized experiences in host countries but also in the Kurdish diasporic imagination of Kurdistan?
  • What are the creative and many performative ways of expressing Kurdish identity across categories of race, gender, sexuality, language, class, ability, and ethnicity in the Kurdish diaspora?

Stanley Thangaraj

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Colin Powell School, The City College of New York

Telephone: (212) 650-7364

Fax: (212) 650-6607

Email: sthangaraj@ccny.cuny.edu

Aynur de Rouen, Ph.D.
Binghamton University
Telephone: (607) 777-3944
Fax: (607) 777-6500
Email: aderouen@binghamton.edu

Advertisements

Actions

Information