Kurdish Studies Conference

Serbest Kurdish Studies Conference 
Buffett Institute for Global Studies
June 1–2, 2018
Northwestern University
Harris Hall 108


Buffett Institute for Global Studies is hosting its inaugural Kurdish Studies Conference. The Kurdish Studies Conference Series aims to support the production and dissemination of knowledge and to strengthen the network of scholars in Kurdish Studies.

The conference convenes annually to discuss the experiences and struggles of Kurds, and the historical and comparative study of Kurdish politics, society, and culture.

This conference is made possible by the generous support of Northwestern alumnus Metin Serbest, Esq. (Law '05).

Please note: Only Saturday afternoon sessions (VIII, VI and Closing) are open to the public. Northwestern University faculty, students and staff are welcome to all sessions. 


FRIDAY, 1 June 2018

9:00 a.m. Welcome

  • Bruce Carruthers, Buffett Institute
  • Metin Serbest, Esq., Northwestern Law'05
  • Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Buffett Institute 

9:30–10:30 a.m. Session I: The Development of Kurdish Studies 

  • Chair: Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Buffett Institute 
  • Michael Gunter, Tennessee Technological University
    Kurdish Studies in the United States
  • Özlem Belçim Galip, University of Oxford
    Kurdish Studies as a De-Territorialized Field: Transformations and Discontinuities
  • Welat Zeydanlıoğlu, Kurdish Studies Network (KSN), the Kurdish Studies Journal
    Kurdish Studies: Recent and Future Perspectives

10:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m. Q&A

11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Session II: New Perspectives in Kurdish Studies 

  • Chair: İpek Yosmaoğlu, Northwestern University
  • Nilay Özok-Gündoğan, Florida State University
    Reconsidering the Notion of “Autonomy” in Historical Writings on Ottoman Kurdistan
  • Veli Yadırgı, University of London
    The Political Economy of Turkey's Kurdish Question
  • Deniz Duruiz, Columbia University
    Border as an Epistemological Device in Kurdish Studies

12:00–12:30 p.m. Q&A

12:30–1:30 p.m. Break

1:30–2:50 p.m. Session III: The Faces and Effects of Violence in Bakur

  • Chair: Sinan Erensü, Northwestern University
  • Yesim Yaprak Yıldız, University of Cambridge
    (Dis)avowal of State Violence: Confessions of Turkish state actors on atrocities against Kurds
  • Mehmet Gürses- Florida Atlantic University
    War, Religion, and the Kurds: The Secularizing Potential of Armed Conflict
  • Zeynep Oğuz, CUNY
    Violent Collisions: Geology, Oil, and Subterranean Power in Turkey’s Kurdistan
  • Emre Turkut, Ghent University
    Non-Discrimination, Minority Rights and Self-Determination

2:50–3:30 p.m. Q&A

3:30–4:30 p.m. Session IV: Kurdish Movements in Rojava and Sinjar

  • Chair: Danny Postel, Northwestern University
  • Sean Lee, Northwestern University
    The Evolution of Rojava: Nation building in wartime Syria
  • Amy Austin Holmes, American University of Cairo
    The Political Ambitions of Kurdish Militias in Syria and IraqGeopolitics and Gender Dynamics: Comparing the YPG in Kobane and the YBS in Sinjar
  • Güney Yıldız, University of Cambridge
    How does the Kurdish movement in Syria recruit members of the Arab majority and other minorities to their project?

4:30–5:00 p.m. Q&A

5:00–5:40 p.m. Session V: Comparative Perspectives on Conflict Resolution

  • Chair: Ipek Demir, University of Leicester
  • Haluk Baran Bingöl, Kennesaw State University
    Frontiers of Kurdish Paradiplomacy and Self-Governance: A Comparative Analysis of Security, Development and Conflict
  • Onur Bakıner, Seattle University
    Why do Peace Negotiations Succeed or Fail? Legal Commitment, Transparency and Inclusion in Colombia (2012-2016) and Turkey (2012-2015)

5:40–6:10 p.m. Q&A


SATURDAY, 2 June 2018

9:00–10:00 a.m. Session VI: The predicament of Kurds in Rojhelat and Başûr 

  • Chair: Fatma Müge Göcek, University of Michigan
  • Peshawa Abdulkhaliq Muhammed, University of Sulaimani
    Iraqi Kurdistan and Its Changing Region
  • Kamal Soleimani, Queens College, NY
    The Predicament of the Eastern Kurds
  • Ahmad Mohammadpour, University of Massachusetts
    Orientalizing the East: Iranian Kurdistan and the Construction of Colonial Subject

10:00–10:30 a.m. Q&A

10:30–11:50 a.m. Session VII: Spatial, Cultural and Political Imaginaries

  • Chair: Senem Aslan, Northwestern University and Bates College
  • Leyla Neyzi, Northwestern University and Sabancı University
    Displaced Rural Youth in Diyarbakir and “The Place that has No (Public) Name.”
  • Diana Hatchett, University of Kentucky
    Sovereignty and Ethical Life in Kurdistan and Kurdish Studies
  • Janroj Yılmaz Keleş, Middlesex University
    Return Mobilities of Highly Skilled British-Kurdish Young People to a Post-Conflict Region
  • Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Siena College
    Cleansing the Galleries: A Museum in the Imagination of Kurdish Diaspora Artists and Activists

11:50 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Q&A

12:30–1:30 p.m. Break

1:30–2:30 p.m. Session VIII: Transforming the Politics of Non-Recognition

  • Chair: Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Buffett Institute 
  • Naif Bezwan, University College London
    Transforming the Politics of Non-Recognition: The International Community and the Kurdish Pursuit of Self- Determination
  • Ipek Demir, University of Leicester
    The Global South in the Global North: Kurdish Diaspora in Europe as Transnational Indigenous Resistance
  • Abbas Vali, Boğaziçi University (Emeritus)
    Sovereign Power, Ruptured Domination and Kurdish Self-Government in the Middle East

2:30–3:00 p.m. Q&A

3:00–3:30 p.m. Coffee Break

3:30–4:10 p.m. Session IV: The Dilemmas and Prospects of Kurdish Politics Across Borders  

  • Chair: Sean Lee, Northwestern University
  • Cengiz Güneş, The Open University
    The Political Representation of Kurds in Turkey: Actors, Issues and Transformations
  • David Romano, Missouri State University
    “Foreign policy options of the KRG”

4:10–4:30 p.m. Q&A

4:30–6:00 p.m. Closing Session

  • Abbas Vali, Boğaziçi University (Emeritus)
  • Fatma Müge Göcek, University of Michigan