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Women of A Non-State Nation Kurds

Éditeur : Mazda Date & Lieu : 2001, California
Préface : Robert Olson | Shahrzad Mojab Pages : 266
Traduction : ISBN :
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 150x225 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Ang. 2937Thème : Sociologie

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Women of A Non-State Nation Kurds

Women of A Non-State Nation Kurds
Edited by Shahrzad Mojab

Western observers and Kurdish nationalists have ro¬manticized the women of Kurdistan by claiming that hey enjoy more freedom than their Arab, Persian and Turkish sisters. Kurdish women are, in these nar¬ratives, mostly unveiled; they freely associate with men in work, dance, and war, and songe appear as rulers of tribes and territories. This book challenges such daims to the uniqueness of the status of Kurdish women by offering a complex picture of their oppression and resistance.
The Kurds are the fourth largest "ethnie people" of the Middle East, outnum-bered only by Arabs, Persians and Turks. In the wake of World War I, they were forcibly divided among the neighboring states of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Known as the world's largest non-state nation, Kurds are also dispersed in diasporic communities throughout Asia, Europe and North America.

By the turn of the century, Kurdish women had entered male-dom inated do- mains such as parliaments (Iraq, Turkey, Europe), guerrilla armies (Iran and Tur¬key), higher education, mass media, arts, sciences, administration. and law. They were, at the same time, subjected to extensive violence by both the nation-states that rule over them and the patriarchal regime of their own non-state nation.

Resisting the national chauvinism of the ruling nations as well as the male chauvinism of their own nation. Kurdish women's movements are sites of conflict and coexistence between national ism and feminism, declining feudalism-tribalism and emerging capitalism, and national and class struggles.

Kurdish women are usually ignored in women's studies both in the Middle East and the West. There is a serious dearth of research and resources in English and other languages. The contributors to this volume, the first anthology of its kind. examine aspects of Kurdish women's lives in politics, history, culture, religion, medicine, and language. Songe of the topics covered here have never appeared in previous studies: gender and self-determination, women and Sufism, language and patriarchy, and women in traditional medicine.

This volume will be useful for the general readership interested in the study of Kurdish women as well as students of women's studies, feminist theory, Middle Eastern studies, gender and language, nationalism, theories of state, women's rights, and gender and culture.


Women of a Non-State Nation: The Kurds is the first scholarly edited book devoted entirely to the status of Kurdish women in Kurdistan and in the Middle East. It is a unique study proffering seminal scholarship on different topics. The contributions range from historical depictions of Kurdish women in European travel accounts and the late Ottoman period to their current political, religious, social and health status in the regions in which they live. These studies make clear that Kurdish women, like the Kurds in general, are no longer to be denied their history, sense of self, aspirations and identity. Theirs is a difficult struggle. Most Kurds live in countries that only a decade ago denied that Kurds existed. It took decades of armed conflict in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria to compel these states to recognize the "Kurdish reality." This implied something to be managed, controlled and suppressed; not recognized, nurtured or embraced. While the "Kurdish reality" was recognized, Kurdistan was not. The Kurdish reality was recognized to assure that Kurdistan would not.

The realization of Kurdistan is the greatest challenge facing the Kurds in the first half of the 21st century. The contributions make clear this will be a daunting task. In the decades ahead the Kurds will have to deal with states eager to suppress their national and political aspirations, exploit them economically and deny them human rights. Concomitantly, Kurdish women must struggle against social, religious and sexual bias and violence in their own regions and in their own homes even as they participate in the national struggle.

Shahrzad Mojab is to be congratulated for bringing together such a strong group of scholars. As anyone who works in the field of Middle East studies knows, the task of bringing uniformity to a diverse, international group of scholars, with different theoretical and methodological perspectives, not to mention languages, different word processing systems, fonts and diacritical systems is daunting. Dr. Mojab has managed to do this with great skill.

Mazda Press and the Kurdish Studies Series are delighted to be able to make this book available to interested scholars and people. It is difficult for new areas of scholarship to be recognized and even more difficult for the results to be published. We want the Kurdish Studies Series to be a venue for new scholarship on Kurdish studies. Women of a Non-State Nation: The Kurds is also unique in that the contributors offer state of art analyses and interpretations not only on a variety of topics dealing with Kurdish women and Kurdistan, but with relevance for a broad swathe of subjects in Middle East and Islam ic studies as well as anthropology, history, political science, health sciences and linguistics. Scholars interested in any of these fields, and others, will want to have this work on their bookshelves.

Robert Olson
University of Kentucky


The idea of this book was conceived at a conference on The Kurds and the City in France in September 1996. I approached varions publishers, university presses, and others, in Europe and North America. They recognized the significance of the project and its contribution to Kurdish studies and feminist knowledge. The book, nonetheless, failed to meet some of the marketing demands of the publishing industry. The reluctance to publish the book was shaped not by the topic but, rather, by the limited size of the market. `Selling' the long-ignored accounts of Kurdish women's history, culture, politics, life, and sexuality was not an easy task. I am, therefore, grateful to Mazda Publishers, in particular to Dr. Ahmad Jabbari, who has initiated the Kurdish Studies Series, and supportecl tlns project. I also would like to extend my thanks to Professor Robert Olson, the series editor, for his unequivocal encouragement.

Throughout this prolonged process many friends and colleagues generously extended their support. Among them, foremost, are the contributors to tins book to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude. They patiently tolerated repeated delays, and graciously responded to numerous stylistic, editorial, and word-processing interventions. I also remain indebted to Amir Hassanpour, not only for his contribution to this collection, but also for sharing with me his insights on the complex history and culture of the Kurds.

The chapters were reviewed, individually, by various specialists. I am in particular appreciative of the reviews of Himani Bannerji, Michael Chyet, B. Mardukhi, and James Reilly. Dr. Chyet's excellent translation of Rohat Alakom's chapter is another testimony to his unrivaled command of Kurdish.

I am humbled by the generous contribution of Dam Aram. The illustration on die front cover of the book is one of his paintings, which depicts the resistance dance of Kurdish women. Others have also contributed to the making of the book. Susan McDonald, Kate Robson, and Rahal Ogbagzy, Research Assistants at die Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, assisted me at different stages of the preparation of the manuscript. I also thank Stephan Dobson for his diligent copy editing of the manuscript.

Finally, I have enjoyed die support of my colleagues at the Department of Adult Education, Conununity Development, and Counselling Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, in pursuing my research interests in the area of Kurdish women's studies. I am especially indebted to Budd Hall, former chair of my department and, since 2001, the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Victoria University, British Columbia, for encouraging my academic pursuits in Kurdish studies.

Shahrzad Mojab
OISE, University of Toronto

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