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Past Conferences

Friday, 7 June 2019

8:45 – 9:20 Welcome

  • 8:45 – 9:00 Breakfast (served)

9:00-9:20 Introductory Remarks

  • Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Northwestern University
  • Metin Serbest, Esq. (Law '05)       

9:20-10:20 Session I: Colonialism and Violence I

  • Chair: Ayça Alemdaroğlu, Northwestern University
  • Erdem İlter – UCLA, Department of History
    • The Sheikh Said Rebellion and the Formation of Modern Turkey 1925 – 1938
  • Matan Cohen – Columbia University, Middle Eastern South Asian and African Studies
    • Dependence, Independence & Interdependence: Political Belonging Beyond Unitary Sovereignty and (Neo)Colonial Walling
  • Bilgesu Sümer – University of Massachusetts, Department of Political Science 
    • Political life of P’ling’s Dead Body: Politicization of the Dead in Turkey

10:05–10:20 Q&A

10:20-10:30 Coffee Break


10:30-11:50 Session II: Colonialism and Violence II

  • Chair:  İpek Yosmaoğlu, Northwestern University
  • Maya Avis (and Oren Ziv) – Graduate Institute of Geneva
    • The Non-Citizen Journalist: Narrating Colonial State Power and Constructing the Boundaries to Vision
  • Nasser Abourahme – New York University, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies
    • Camp/Colony: On the Vanishing Horizon of Settler Permanence
  • Latif Taş – SOAS University of London, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Beyond the Colonial State: Kurdish Alternative Justice and State Building
  • Charlotte Watelet – EHESS, Paris – Anthropology and Political Science
    • Kurds among Kurds: An Ethnography of a Refugee Camp

11:30-11:50 Q&A

11:50-12:00 Lunch (served)

12:00-12:45 Keystone Speech

  • Charles Mills, The Graduate Center, CUNY

1:00-2:20 Session III: Law, The Peace Process, and Transitional Justice

  • Chair:  Wendy Pearlman, Northwestern University
  • Adam Sitze - Amherst College, College of Law
  • South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: A Genealogy   
  • Nisan Alıcı- - Ulster University, Transitional Justice
  • Transitional Justice in an Ongoing Conflict: A Victim-Survivor Centred Analysis of Transitional Justice Mechanisms in the Context of the Kurdish Conflict
  • Emilio Dabed - Visiting Fellow at Osgoode, York University Law School
  • Palestinian Legal Activism: Between Liberation and the ‘Desire’ of Statehood
  • Sinem Arslan - University of Essex, Michael Nicholson Centre for Conflict and Cooperation
  • Transborder Ethnic Kin and the Dynamics of Peace Processes: Insights from the Kurdish Conflict

2:00-2:20 Q&A

2:20–2:30 Coffee Break

2:30-3:50 Session IV: Political Economy

  • Chair:  Diego Arispe-Bazán, Northwestern University
  • Andy Clarno – University of Illinois at Chicago, Sociology and African America Studies
    • The Specter and Labor of the Black Poor in South Africa after Apartheid
  • Veli Yadırgı – London School of Economics 
    • The Three Pillars of De-development in Kurdistan: Forced Displacement, Cultural Annihilation, and Economic Expropriation
  • Deniz Duruiz - Northwestern University, Buffett Institute for Global Affairs
    • The Kurdish Labor Intermediary: The Symptom of Turkey’s Racialized and Gendered Labor Regime
  • Patrick Lewis - University of Chicago, Department of Anthropology
    • Teachers, Schools, and Changing State Value Regimes: The Politics and Political-Economy of Memurluk (Being a Civil Servant) in North Kurdistan

3:30–3:50 Q&A

3:50-4:00 Coffee Break 

4:00-5:20 Session V: Environmental Contestations

  • Chair:  Zekeria Ahmed Salem, Northwestern University
  • Ken Salo – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – Department of Urban & Regional Planning
    • Contesting Liberal Legality: Informal Legal Cultures in Post-Apartheid South Africa’s Privatization Seafood Fishery
  • Allan Hassaniyan – University of Exeter, Kurdish Studies
    • Securitization of Environmental Activism in Iranian Kurdistan 
  • Pınar Dinç (and Lina Eklund)  - Lund University, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
    • An Interdisciplinary Approach to Forest Fires and Conflicts in the Middle East
  • Arda Bilgen – Independent Scholar
    • Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? An Appraisal of the Four Decades of Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP)

5:00–5:20 Q&A

Saturday, 8 June 2019

9:00-10:20 Session VI: Nationalism and Kurdish Women

  • Chair: Deniz Duruiz, Northwestern University
  • Madiha Pınar Sorma – University of Washington Seattle, Gender, Department of Women and Sexuality Studies
    • Denationalizing the Body: Kurdish Women’s Guerilla Resistance towards a Stateless Freedom
  • Nadje Al-Ali - Brown University, Watson Institute for Public and International Affairs
    • Nationalism and Feminism: Comparative Perspectives
  • Özüm Yeşiltaş - Texas A&M University - Commerce, Department of Political Science
    • Nationalism and Women’s Agency: Constructions of Feminist Nationalist Identity in the Kurdish Movements in Iraq and Syria
  • Stanley Thangaraj - City College of New York, Department of Anthropology
    • Deploying "Woman" and Managing Difference: Transnational Negotiations of Diasporic Identity

10:00-10:20 Q&A


10:20-10:30 Coffee Break

10:30–11:35 Session VII: The Kurdish Political Movement

  • Chair:  Danny Postel, Northwestern University
  • Elif Genç – The New School for Social Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Kurdish Movement’s Realpolitik: The Case of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Gülay Kılıçaslan - York University, Department of Sociology
  • Situating Kurdish Forced Migration as a Contentious Political Terrain in Turkey 
  • Sardar Saadi – University of Toronto, Department of Anthropology 
  • Sovereignty in Neighborhood: Turkish Islamic Hegemony versus Kurdish Democratic Autonomy in Sur, Diyarbakır

11:15–11:35 Q&A

11:35–1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:00 Session VIII: Comparison Workshops

2:00-3:00 Session IX: Workshop Presentations - 10 mins. for each group 

3:00-3:15 Coffee Break

3:15-4:00 Closing Session: Kurdish Studies From a Postcolonial Perspective

Friday, 1 June 2018

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

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 Iraq
    • Geopolitics 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