Conference: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Kurdish Politics

28 04 2016


The Kurds are one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state, constituting sizable minorities in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. They have recently become prominent in world politics due to their fight against the Islamic State in the midst of Syria’s civil war. Yet until now, their history has largely been one of marginalization, oppression, and resistance across borders. It is estimated that about half of world’s more than 30 million Kurds live in Turkey, where they have struggled for self-governance through parliamentarian politics and armed conflict for over 30 years. The three-year peace talks between the Turkish State and the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, the main armed group of the Kurds) was terminated in July 2015 by the Turkish state, leading to yet another cycle of violence. Hundreds of civilian casualties, thousands of displaced Kurds, and terrified Kurdish and Turkish societies thus joined the long history of violence and deprivation in Turkey.

About this conference:

This international conference aims to bring together cutting-edge research examining the last hundred years of Kurdish existence in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic in a historical and comparative perspective.

November 3-4, 2016
Evanston, Illinois

  • Abstract Deadline: June 1
  • Paper Deadline: October 1

Call for submissions:

We invite paper proposals on the past and present of Kurds and the Kurdish politics in Turkey and the Middle East, in comparison to similar struggles in other parts of the world.

We especially welcome papers on the following topics:

  • The historical construction of “the Kurdish Question” in history
  • The Kurdish case in comparison with other ethnic and/or colonial struggles
  • The impact of international power struggles on the Kurds in Turkey and the Middle East
  • Shifts in Kurdish politics in relation to the ongoing civil war in Syria and the state formation in Iraqi Kurdistan
  • The impact of the processes of neoliberal capitalism on Kurdish politics
  • Status of Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Turkish constitutional politics with regard to the issues of pluralism and demands for autonomy
  • The impact of political, religious, linguistic, and class divisions on Kurdish politics in Turkey
  • “Kurdish-ness” and “Turkish-ness” at the intersection of power and privilege in changing Turkey
  • The role of gender, patriarchy, and feminism in Kurdish politics
  • Generational and demographic change among the Kurds and Kurdish political movements
  • Politics of the Kurdish diaspora
  • Discourses and knowledge production about the Kurds and Kurdish politics

We encourage submissions from PhD candidates and junior scholars.

Please submit your paper abstract of 250-300 words by June 1. Any questions may be sent to

For details click here.



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