New Book Out: Sara – My Whole Life Was A Struggle

20 02 2018

Cansiz, Sakine

Pluto Press, 2018

ISBN: 9780745338019

The bitter struggle of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, against the Turkish state has delivered inspirational but often tragic stories. This memoir by Kurdish revolutionary Sakine Cansiz is one of them. Sakine, whose code name was ‘Sara’, co-founded the PKK in 1974 and dedicated her life to its cause. On the 9 January 2013 she was assassinated in Paris in circumstances that remain officially unresolved.

This is the first chapter of her iconic life, leading up to her arrest in 1979, penned as dramatic events unfolded against the backdrop of the Turkish revolutionary left. She writes about the excitement of entering the movement as a young woman, discovering she would have to challenge traditional gender roles as she rose amongst its ranks. She was one of the first to demand the recruitment and education of female revolutionaries, and demanded total gender equality within the PKK, which is now one of its central tenets.

Today, ‘Sara’ is an inspiration to women fighting for liberation across the world. This is her story in her own words, and is in turns shocking, violent and path-breaking.

For details click here.


Call for Papers: Everyday Resistance of Kurds And Palestinians – Countering Domination via Nonviolent Means

20 02 2018
2-23 June, 2018 (9am – 5pm)

Coventry University, Coventry, UK

Organiser: Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation Research Group, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR)

Resistance informs us about power and, in particular, asymmetric power relations. Everyday resistance is an action taken by people who resist the multiple and multi-layered power relations that manifest themselves in the interactions in our daily life.

Understanding everyday resistance can help us to understand these power dynamics and relations in context. Unlike visible forms of resistance such as rebellions, mass protests, riots, revolutions, and demonstrations, everyday resistance can be less visible and informal. Scott (1989) studied disguised–or seemingly invisible resistance–and argued that the form such resistance will take depends on the kind of power ranged against it, but is generally hidden below the surface and not formally organised.  More precisely, everyday resistance can be “interpreted as an activity in a dynamic interaction with opposition power”, which in Foucault’s reading is something ordinary people practice daily. Everyday resistance can also be presented as a continuum from public confrontation to hidden subversion. Bayat (2000) describes it as “quiet encroachment” and “advancement of the ordinary” which enables us to survive and protect ourselves. He went further to say that “these ordinary and often quiet practices by the ordinary and often silent people engender significant social changes” (Bayat 1997).

This conference will explore the power of everyday resistance among Kurds and Palestinians and the different shapes and forms this takes locally and transnationally. People of Kurdistan and Palestine have a long history of resistance and they have shown many examples of what James Scott called “weapons of the weak”.  In all three contexts, it is possible to find examples of nonviolent collective and individual actions which have deep symbolic and ideological underpinnings. Often everyday resistance practices intersect with organised political collectives that are much more visible than the typically subtle repertoires of everyday resistance.

Specifically, this conference will ask the following questions: How do these oppressed groups use nonviolent forms of resistance to counter repression? What are the similarities and differences between the everyday resistance across these communities? What are the resistance practices that are central to daily life? What are the creative actions that make everyday resistance even more successful? An important theme of the conference will explore whether these communities can learn from each other’s nonviolent resistance practices.

We seek paper and panel proposals that engage with the questions mentioned above.  Both academic and non-academic (journalists, activists etc) participants will be welcomed.

Potential themes of the conference include but are not limited to:

·        Hidden and unhidden forms of everyday resistance

·        Creative ways of resisting oppression

·        Resistance, elections and political participation

·        Culture, art, education and tradition in everyday resistance

·        Gendered aspects of everyday resistance

·        The role of youth in everyday resistance

·        Overcoming political control and criminalisation

·        Overcoming colonial legacy, partition and statelessness

·        Towards a transnational civil resistance?

Refreshments and lunch will be provided during the duration of the conference. We regret that we are not able to offer travel grants or other forms of financial assistance for the participants of the conference.

Please email paper abstracts of no more than 300 words to by 1 March 2018.

Acceptance and rejections notices will be sent in mid-March 2018. A selection of conference papers will be chosen for inclusion in a proposed edited volume, and/or a special journal issue.

3rd Kurdish Studies Summer School

14 02 2018

Kurdish Studies Summer School:  3-6 September 2018

Kurdish Politics and Society: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

Please join us at this intensive summer school at the Kurdish Institute, Paris, focusing on Kurdish politics and society. The school is designed to engage postgraduate students (Master and PhD level) in the field of Kurdish Studies and the politics, society and culture of Kurds.


Dates: 3-6 September 2018

Place: Kurdish Institute, Paris

Registration Fees: 125 Euros (until 25 April 2018)

Registration fees cover tuition and venue costs.

Students will arrange and pay for their own accommodation and travel.

The school is subsidized by the Kurdish Institute and there are no additional funds or scholarships.


Keynote lecturers and panellists include:

  1. Dr Salih Akin (University of Rouen, France)
  2. Professor Hamit Bozarslan (EHESS, Paris, France)
  3. Dr Ipek Demir (University of Leicester, UK)
  4. Dr Cengiz Gunes (Open University, UK)
  5. Dr Choman Hardi (American University of Iraq)
  6. Dr Nilay Ozok Gundogan (Florida State, US)
  7. Dr Clémence Scalbert-Yucel (University of Exeter, UK)

The lectures and workshops will be organized in line with the lecturers’ area of expertise. They will be delivered in English, and broadly in these areas:

Area 1: Kurdish Language and the Politics of Kurdish Language

Area 2: Kurdish Studies & Middle Eastern Studies: Methodological Issues

Area 3: Kurdish Diaspora and Transnationalism

Area 4: Kurdish Political Movement and Discourse

Area 5: Gender and Kurdish Studies

Area 6: History of Kurds and of Kurdistan

Area 7: Kurdish Literature and Culture


The format of each day is as follows:

1)   Plenary/keynote lectures, outlining the main approaches and methods employed in their specific field (e.g. history).

2)   15 minute presentations by students which are then followed by feedback from at least one keynote speaker. Group discussion and feedback.

3)   Closing session with two student rapporteurs summing up key insights from the day and closing statements.



Please fill in the attached application form.

You are welcome to apply as one of the following:

(a) as a presenter of a paper

(b) as an attendee

You will be able to indicate this on the application form.


Those wishing to present a paper, please include a long abstract (500-600 words) in the application form. Please note that both the word limit and the deadline are strict.

Send the application form to

Deadline: 12 March 2018, 12noon UK time.

Shortlisting will be finalised and communicated by 23 March 2018



Registration (for those who have been accepted) will open on 5 April 2018

Early Registration Deadline: 25 April 2018

Early Registration Fee: 125 Euros

Registration Fees after 25 April 2018200 Euros

Please note that this is not a conference but a teaching and learning event involving teaching sessions from senior scholars of Kurdish Studies. It is a unique opportunity and places are strictly limited.

In the event of the summer school being oversubscribed, participants may be selected according to the likely coherence of the sessions – this is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of work submitted.

Priority will be given to students who have not attended, but previous attendees are welcome to submit applications.

Please note that the Kurdish Institute in Paris unfortunately has no wheelchair access.

For the application form click below


New Book Out: The Kurdish Women of Turkey – Building a Nation, Struggling for Gender Parity

11 01 2018

Basch-Harod, Heidi

Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 2017

ISBN: 978-965-224-108-5

Actively engaged in an ethno-nationalist struggle since the 1980s, the story of the Kurdish women of Turkey is one current example of women’s involvement in shaping the history of the region. This book focuses upon Kurdish women of Turkey and the ongoing evolution of their role in defining and mobilizing the Kurdish quest for recognition as a people within and against the Republic of Turkey.

For details click here.

New Book Out: The Alphabetic Variations of Kurdish Scripts – Why and How?

10 01 2018

Khurshid, Ali Ghazi

Script and Vision, 2017

ISBN: 9198434403

The Kurdish language consists of a continuum of related spoken varieties without having a standardized linguistic entity, and is mainly spoken in those area of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria which comprise Kurdistan. Kurdish is without a unified writing system, as well. The Kurds have been obliged to modify orthographies according to the type of script in use in those countries that Kurdistan is annexed to.The author describes the historical development and importance of writing; and the reason behind adaptation of a specific writing system. He also describes the historical development of the Kurdish writing, the reason of having different kinds of alphabet and related problems and solutions.

For details click here.

Seminar: The Dream of the Nation-State in a Globalized World

12 10 2017

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) invites you to a seminar addressing the question of national self-determination in different parts of the world.

Political claims to national independence and self-determination have in recent years gained prominence in many parts of the world. Not that long ago the process of globalization, economic interdependence and an increasing number of global challenges (e.g. terrorism and climate change) were thought to diminish the appeal of independence for non-sovereign regions in Europe, some parts of the Middle East and elsewhere. However, this does not seem to have happened. Instead the dream of the nation-state seems to enjoy an enduring appeal.

Why do Catalans seek national independence and what implications do the current political crisis in Spain have for the EU? How is it that, despite international law, Palestinans’ right to self-determination has not transformed into a national statehood that respects their rights? After the Iraqi-Kurdish referendum, what are the prospects for an independent Kurdish state in the Middle East?

Richard Gillespie, Professor of Politics and founder of the Europe and the World Centre at the University of Liverpool.

Cherine Hussein, Research Fellow, UI

Welat Zeydanlıoğlu, Editor of the journal Kurdish Studies and the coordinator of the Kurdish Studies Network (KSN).

Niklas Bremberg, Research Fellow, UI.


Date: Thursday 19 October, 2017
Time: 13.00-14.30. Registration from 12.30
Location: The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Drottning Kristinas väg 37, Stockholm
Seminar fee: Free of charge
Language: English

For details click here.

New Book Out: The Kurdish Question Revisited

6 09 2017

Stansfield, Gareth & Shareef, Mohammed (eds)

Hurst, 2017

ISBN: 9781849045919

The Kurds, once marginal in the study of the Middle East and secondary in its international relations, have moved to centre stage in recent years. In Turkey, where the Kurdish question is an issue of national significance, and in Iraq, where the gains made by the Kurdistan Regional Government have allowed it to impose its authority, moves are afoot to solve ‘the Kurdish Question’ once and for all. In Syria, where the Kurds have borne the brunt of the Islamic State’s onslaught as they defended their three self-declared cantons of Afrin, Kobane, and Cezire, and in Iran, where they struggle to express their cultural distinctiveness and suffer disproportionately at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s security and intelligence services, the picture is less positive. Yet the situations in both countries remain in flux, affected by developments in Iraq and Turkey in a manner that suggests we may have to revise the notion of the Kurds being forever divided by the boundaries of the Middle East and subsumed into the state projects of other nations. The contributors to The Kurdish Question Revisited offer insights into how this once seemingly intractable, immutable phenomenon is being transformed amid the new political realities of the Middle East.

For details click here.