Invitation: Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy

26 10 2018

The Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy will organize a meeting to discuss the formation of a global Kurdish academy that can shape, support, coordinate and promote scholarly research and debates on the issues related to the Kurds and Kurdistan. The first meeting of our initiative will take place at Middlesex University the Burroughs, Hendon London NW44BT.We propose two dates for the first meeting (15th December 2018 or 19th January 2019). Please participate via the doodle link below for identifying the date that could be the most convenient day and time four you.

The Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy



As a short run objective, the Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy has been formed in order to support, coordinate and promote academic research by young scholars including but not limited to masters and Ph.D. students in the fields such as social sciences, humanities, psychology and linguistics. In the long run, however, the initiative bears the ambition of subsuming its activities under the banner of an academy.


The initiative, in order to achieve its short run goals, will assist researchers develop their projects in dialogue with the latest conceptual and methodological debates in the world academies; it will offer them assistance regarding sources and proposal design / funding opportunities. With these goals in mind, the initiative will form academic counseling units, organize conferences and offer online interactive presentations / courses.


The Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy deems it as a priority to develop connections with universities and respected academic institutions. Thereby, it aims to enlarge its objectives vis-à-vis the sources and opportunities that it will manage to reach and create. The ultimate goal of the initiative’s activities is the creation of a Kurdish academy. However, given the instability and political oppression in the countries of the region –where the interests of the initiative are embedded—that deter academic activities, its base will initially be formed in Europe.



The Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy is a global enterprise. It has been created by scholars who are currently based in North America, in Continental Europe, in England and in the Middle East. It is a platform open to scholars from varied institutional backgrounds, different schools of thought and diverse worldviews. The initiative has emerged thanks to the voluntary and complimentary inputs of the participants and will continue to operate as such. The founding initiative aims, on principle, to overcome and go beyond political fragmentation and cleavages that has long taken a toll on Mesopotamia / Kurdish / Kurdistani studies.


Founding Activities:

The Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy will organize a inaugural convention in October 2018. The date and the place of the meeting will be announced shortly. At this convention, fields and guiding principles of the initiative’s activities will be discussed, and relevant executive units will be formed. A foremost important agenda item will be the creation of financial resources and establishment of a permanent administrative office for the initiative.


Following this founding convention in April 2019 the initiative aims to hold its first academic conference with the participation of Ph.D. students specializing in the abovementioned fields. In this meeting the methodological and conceptual aspects of the participants’ research projects will be interactively and dialogically discussed.


The Initiative for Mesopotamia Kurdish Academy envisions to hold its first interdisciplinary conference in June 2019. Academic institutions whose foci are in the fields described above will also be invited to the convention. In a special session of the conference the future of the Mesopotamia / Kurdish / Kurdistani studies will be discussed with regards to the experiences and current situation of area studies in the world.


All of these meeting will be held at locations in Europe due to current political instability in Kurdistan and consequent concerns about security / safety of participants.


This is not an absolute or final program; it will be reshaped according to the participants’ critiques, comments and proposals.


Institutional Participants:

Paris Kurdish Institute

Stockholm Kurdish Library

İsmail Beşikçi Foundation

Bruxelles Kurdish Institute


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

23 09 2018

Call for Papers Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies

Special Issue: Kurdish Diasporas and New Social Locations: Making Sense of Displacement and Community Building 

Guest editors: Stanley Thangaraj, City College of New York

Aynur de Rouen, Binghamton University

Kurdish communities have a long history of displacement, marginalization, and persecution in the Middle East/West Asia. 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 actors. 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 ofKurdishdiaspora 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 indifferently 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?

Final submissions can be:

  • Full-length articles (6,000 to 7,500 exclusive of references) that theoretically and/or empirically attend to walking methodologies (these will be double blind peer reviewed)

The journal is an open source online journal that currently publishes the papers as pdf files. Images and URL links can be included in submissions. All proposals will be submitted electronically as word documents, using APA citation format. Please send the manuscript to Stan Thangaraj (City College of New York) and Aynur de Rouen (Binghamton University) at and   If you have any questions, please do reach Stan and Aynur at the e-mail addresses posted above.



November 15, 2018: Proposal/expression of interest (250 words plus 50-word bio)

December 01, 2018: Authors will be notified of acceptance of their proposal

February 1, 2019:  Final submissions due for blind peer review, once comments and reviews are given back in 6 weeks, the final revised version should be submitted by April 30, 2019

For details click here


New Book Out: Comparative Kurdish Politics in the Middle East – Actors, Ideas, and Interests

9 09 2018

Tugdar Emel Elif & Al, Serhun (Eds.)

Palgrave, 2018

ISBN 978-3-319-53715-3

This edited volume introduces the political, social and economic intra-Kurdish dynamics in the Middle East by comparatively analyzing the main actors, their ideas, and political interests. As an ethnic group and a nation in the making, Kurds are not homogeneous and united but rather the Kurdish Middle East is home to various competing political groups, leaderships, ideologies, and interests. Although many existing studies focus on the Kurds and their relations with the nation-states that they populate, few studies analyze the Kurdish Middle East within its own debates, conflicts and interests from a comparative perspective across Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. This book analyzes the intra-Kurdish dynamics with historically-grounded, theoretically-informed, and conceptually-relevant scholarship that prioritizes comparative politics over international relations.

For details click here.

Kurd-Akad Science Award Nomination

9 08 2018

In 2017, Kurd-Akad awarded its first honorary prize for distinguished scientific contributions and outstanding commitment to civil society at its annual reception. Kurd-Akad now wants to supplement this with a science and young talent award. The award ceremony will take place at this year’s annual reception. The prize is intended for scientists, especially young Kurdish scientists, for their outstanding scientific work.

The nominated scientists may be of any nationality.  The persons nominated for the Young Academics Award should have obtained their Bachelor’s degree, those nominated for the Science Award should have at least two years of professional experience after completing their dissertation. A brief CV of the nominee and a statement of reasons should be sent by email to Self-nominations are also welcome.

Deadline for nominations: SEPTEMBER 15, 2018.

New Book Out: Kurdistan in Iraq – The Evolution of a Quasi-State

17 07 2018

Rafaat, Aram

Routledge, 2018


The Kurdish-Iraqi conflict lies in the fact that Kurdistan is a nation-without-a-state and Iraq is a non-nation state, each possessing a nationhood project differing from and opposing the other. Iraqi-Kurdistan is an outward looking entity seeking external patronage. Though external patronage has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Kurdish quasi-state, a lack of positive patronage has prevented it from achieving independence.

This book looks at how the Kurdish and Iraqi quests for nationhood have led to the transformation of Iraqi Kurdistan into an unrecognised quasi-state, and the devolution of the Iraqi state into a recognised quasi-state. This is done by examining the protracted Iraqi-Kurdish conflict and by analysing the contradictions and incompatibilities between the two different nationalisms: Iraqi and Kurdish. The author explains that Kurds as a nation without a state have their own nationhood project which is in opposition to the Iraqi nationhood project. Each has its own identity, loyalty and sovereignty. The book answers the question as to how the Kurdish quest for nationhood has been treated by successive Iraqi regimes. Furthermore, it fills in the literary gaps which exist in relation to the Iraqi-Kurdish conflict by specifying and categorising the cardinal conditions that drive ethnic and nationalist conflicts which lead to the creation of separatist entities.

Drawing upon a vast amount of untapped Kurdish and Arabic primary sources, the book draws on prominent theories on nation-states and quasi-states. It will particularly appeal to students and scholars of international relations, political theory and Middle Eastern Studies.

For details click here.

Call for Abstracts: International Kurdish Studies Symposium – Kurds, Displacement and Resilience

13 07 2018

International Kurdish Studies Symposium, Kurds, Displacement and Resilience, University of Toronto, October 12-14, 2018

Forced displacements have long characterized the everyday experience of Kurds. From Syria and Turkey to Iraq and Iran, Kurds have been displaced, exiled and dispossessed by the dominant national states. However, Kurds have resisted the violation of their rights through a complex political and cultural processes. Having been forcibly displaced and exiled, Kurdish communities have struggled to re-establish their lives in shantytowns of cities or refugee camps. Some have been forced to leave their countries and seek refuge in Western Europe and North America. While displacement has caused dispossession, violence and suffering, Kurdish communities have developed various forms of resistance and/or resilience that range from economic support networks to community organizations providing cultural and educational services in counteracting the regimes of displacement.  

The inaugural meeting of the International Kurdish Studies Symposium at the University of Toronto will explore displacement, resistance and resilience in Kurdish context(s). The symposium invites paper abstracts that address regimes of displacement haunting Kurdish lives as well as forms and strategies of resistance and resilience. The symposium particularly welcomes contributions that discuss the ways in which the Kurdish experience expands and complicates our knowledge on displacement, dispossession, resilience and resistance.  

Please submit your 300-word abstract and two-page CV (including your contact information and institutional affiliation) as one PDF document to The deadline for abstract submission is August 15, 2018.

International Kurdish Studies Symposium at the University of Toronto is a research and learning collective initiated by faculty members and graduate students, and is sponsored by various institutions and departments at the University of Toronto.

New Book Out: Routledge Handbook on the Kurds

12 07 2018

Gunter, Michael M. (ed.)

Routledge, 2019

ISBN: 9781138646643

With an estimated population of over 30 million, the Kurds are the largest stateless nation in the world. They are becoming increasingly important within regional and international geopolitics, particularly since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Arab Spring and the war in Syria. This multidisciplinary Handbook provides a definitive overview of a range of themes within Kurdish studies. Topics covered include:





  • Kurdish Studies in the United States and Europe
  • Early Kurdish History
  • Kurdish Culture, Literature and Cinema
  • Economic Dimensions
  • Religion
  • Geography and Travel
  • Kurdish Women
  • The Kurdish situation in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran
  • The Kurdish Diaspora

With a wide range of contributions from many of the leading academic experts, this Handbook will be a vital resource for students and scholars of Kurdish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.

For details click here.