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Call for Paper Proposals: Special Issue of Genocide Studies International (12.2)

Genocide & The Kurds

The Kurdish-inhabited lands of the Middle East - spanning territories in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey as well as the Caucasus - have hosted a complex ethno-religious mosaic of civilizations since ancient times. The region’s fertile soils bear witness to centuries of social cohesion and inter-communal harmony, punctuated by persecution, war, genocide and atrocity committed against its peoples by internal and external historical agents.

In the modern era, genocidal strategies have been employed against ethnic Kurds as well as Armenians, Assyrians, and Ezidis, among other groups, as part of the rise of nationalism and nation-states within a larger global context characterized by regional competition and Russian, European and North American imperial interests. At times, Kurds have found themselves caught up in genocidal processes as perpetrators, bystanders, and rescuers, as was the case with the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against its Christian (and Ezidi) populations during and after World War I. At other times, and more frequently, Kurds have found themselves targeted by genocidal violence, such as in the case of the Dersim massacres and policies of linguicide in Turkey; the deprivation of citizenship and the creation of the “Arab Belt” in Syria; and the notorious Anfal campaign in Iraq -- to name but a few cases. Meanwhile, religious communities (such as the Yezidis, Jews, Assyrians and Armenians) who have lived alongside, and sometimes as, Kurds have also fallen victim to similar identity-based persecution.

Genocide Studies International seeks contributions to its special issue on the Kurds that engage with the question of genocide in the variously defined territory known as “Kurdistan” and in the diaspora. We welcome submissions from a broad range of disciplinary approaches. In particular we seek to unpack the overlapping politics of genocide recognition for different Kurdish communities and their neighbours in the unique landscape of palimpsestic genocide, with a view to better understanding genocide's impact on the spatial and temporal dynamics of identity construction and the long-standing Kurdish bid for statehood in the Middle East. Manuscripts that explore questions of memory and memorialization, that challenge conventional understandings of genocide, that incorporate the lessons of women’s, gender, and queer studies, and that place events within long-term historical frameworks, are particularly welcomed.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent along with author CVs to GSI editor Elisa von Joeden-Forgey ( and guest editor Thomas McGee( no later than January 31, 2017. Initial manuscript drafts will be due by April 31, 2018 and final manuscripts by June 1, 2018.


(c) 2017 Elisa von Joeden-Forgey

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