New Issue of Kurdish Studies Journal is Published

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Kurdish Studies journal published its new issue in October2020 as Volume: 8, No: 2.

Kurdish Studies is an interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing high quality research and scholarship. The journal’s mission is to revitalize and reorient research, scholarship and debates in the field of Kurdish studies in a multidisciplinary fashion covering a wide range of topics.

Excerpt from Marlene Schäfers’s Editorial about the content

“The current issue brings you a rich and wide-ranging collection of excellent articles. It opens with Metin Atmaca’s interview with David McDowall, author of one of the key reference texts in Kurdish studies, A Modern History of the Kurds. With a new, extended version of the book about to be released, McDowall  sheds  light  on  the  making  of  this  landmark  publication  and reflects on the changing dynamics of the Kurdish question.

Next, Ronay Bakan’s article provides  a fine-grained analysis  of  the  socio-spatial dynamics of urban warfare in the Kurdish region of Turkey. Focusing on the 2015 armed conflict in Suriçi, Diyarbakır, Bakan deftly shows how the spatial characteristics of the urban built environment and the social relations they encouraged played a key role in the unfolding of military conflict. Her article  highlights the need to take material and spatial aspects seriously in our analyses of the political. 

Hazal  Hürman’s  contribution,  too,  focuses  on  the  Kurdish regions  in Turkey, yet moves into the realm of the law. Hers is an ethnographic account of the way in which Kurdish children come into contact with and experience the  law  as  they  navigate  contemporary  urban  spaces  in  Turkey.  Hürman provides a striking analysis of how the state effectively abandons children tried  under  the  terms  of  its  anti-terror  legislation  and  how  this  in  turn encourages  other  social  actors  to  sanction,  punish  and  survey  Kurdish children in their daily lives.

Michael  Knapp  and  Joost  Jongerden follow  with a  detailed  account  of  the justice system in the autonomously administered region of Rojava in north and  east  Syria.  They  show  how  the  peace  committees  and  platforms  that have been institutionalised in the region form an integral part of the model of self-administration promoted by the Kurdish movement and how “doing justice” forms part of a broader project to remake society.

Cihan Erdost Akin’s contribution retains the focus on Rojava, yet turns to the   ways   in   which   the   Kurdish   self-administration   is   perceived   and portrayed  in  Western  media.  His  analysis  reveals  how  the  discursive framing of Rojava as either revolution or separatist rebellion remains limited by   hegemonic   imaginations   of   the   state,   rendering   an   alternative   to capitalism and the nation-state unthinkable.

David Romano takes us to the neighbouring Kurdish Region of Iraq, where he investigates the factors that shape the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG)  foreign  policy  making.  Romano  finds  that  the  degree  of  regime consolidation plays  a  crucial  role  in  how  sub-state  actors like  the KRG  act politically, showing how the recent decline in unity and consolidation of the Kurdish government has led to more risky foreign policies. His insights have relevance beyond the KRG alone and provide a useful point of comparison with other para and sub-state contexts.

Finally, Martin van Bruinessen’s article reviews three recent publications on Alevi  and  Zaza communities  in  Turkey.  Questions  of  linguistic,  religious and  political  identity  feature strongly  in  these  books,  complicating  and nuancing our understanding of Kurdishness and Kurdish identity.”

Content of the new issue


· Editorial, Marlene Schäfers, PDF


· Kurds and their history: An interview with David McDowall, Metin Atmaca


· Socio-spatial dynamics of contentious politics: A case of urban warfare in the Kurdish region of Turkey, Ronay Bakan

· Penalisation of Kurdish children under the Turkish Anti-Terror Law: Abandonment, sovereignty and lawfare, Hazal Hürman

· Peace committees, platforms and the political ordering of society: Doing justice in the Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria (NES), Michael Knapp, Joost Jongerden

· Making the revolution intelligible, rendering political imaginations unthinkable: A postcolonial reading of British and American media representations of Rojava, Cihan Erdost Akin

· Sub-state actors and foreign policy risk-taking: The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, David Romano


· Review article: Kurds, Zazas and Alevis, Martin van Bruinessen,  PDF

· Zeki Sarigil, Ethnic Boundaries in Turkish Politics: The Secular Kurdish Movement and Islam, Martin van Bruinessen,  PDF

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