Special Issue proposal by RISC for the journal Afriche e Orienti (ISSN 1592-6753)
The Kurds and the ‘Other’ in a Post-Sectarian Middle East
Editors: Nicola Degli Esposti, Alessandro Tinti, Sevgi Doğan

Key dates and information:

Abstract Submission Deadline: July 15th, 2024
Notification of Acceptance: September 1st, 2024
Final Manuscript due: January 15th, 2025 (full paper max 8,000 words)

The special issue is curated by the Italian Network of Kurdish Studies and will feature a guest article by Prof. Abbas Vali. We welcome contributions that offer theoretical insights, empirical findings, methodological advancements, and practical implications relevant to the theme.

Please find below the overview of the special issue:

The post-2003 Middle East has been most often described as sinking into a region-wide sectarian conflict. Even if continuous waves of popular revolutions since 2011 were directed against authoritarianism, inequalities, and corruption, rather than ethnic or religious ‘others’, the view of a Middle East dominated by identity politics remains dominant. Within this narrative, Kurdish politics is presented as a mere shadow of its national question, whereby ethno-nationalism plays for the Kurds the same role that sectarianism plays for the Arabs in the regional arena of identity politics. Yet, this approach leaves many blind spots in our understanding of Kurdish politics. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish nationalist elite in power have faced, uninterruptedly since 2015, mass protest movements against austerity, authoritarianism, and corruption. These protests resemble closely – in terms of demands and objectives – the ones taking place in Arab Iraq since 2018. Meanwhile, in Turkey and Syria, the Kurdish Confederalist movement has long advocated for post-nationalist politics. Since 2012, Syrian Kurdish forces have established self-government institutions emphasizing the participation of ethnic and religious minorities and incorporated vast Arab-majority areas. In Turkey, the predominantly Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party has worked to build a united front of the country’s left and minorities. In Iran, the Kurdish movement has been at the forefront of the fight against the regime and its words ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ have become the country-wide slogan of the democratic movement.

The aim of this special issue is to discuss the evolution of Kurdish politics in the past two decades and along the lines of post-nationalism politics. We welcome abstracts that look at Kurdish politics beyond the framework of nationalism and in its interactions with non-Kurdish political forces and dynamics. 

Scholars and scholar-activists at any stage of their career, who are interested in contributing to a special issue for Afriche e Orienti are requested to submit their abstracts to rete.italiana.studi.curdi@gmail.com.

Authors with approved abstracts will be invited to submit their full paper (max 8,000 words).

All papers will be sent to two external referees for final assessment.

For further information or inquiries regarding the special issue, please contact the curators using the same email address.