Kurdish Studies Conference

Past Conferences

The inaugural Kurdish Studies Conference, held June 1 and 2, 2018, focused on three issues:

  • The development of Kurdish Studies as a field
  • The idea of Kurdistan and its transformation in relation to political and cultural change in the region and diaspora
  • The possibilities and dilemmas of Kurdish politics across the Middle East region

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

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 

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

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?

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)


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

10:30–11:50 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

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 

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”

4:30–6:00 p.m. Closing Session

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