[P4890] Syrian Kurds: Contesting Boundaries

Created by Huseyin Rasit
Tuesday, 11/21/17 10:30am


Among the four parts of Kurdistan, the Syrian part has arguably been the least studied one. It has been, for example, a common sight that the edited volumes on Kurdistan are named with "in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran." This situation has changed considerably with the rise of Rojava and rapidly increasing social and political visibility of the Syrian Kurds. Especially after the Battle of Kobani, there has been an explosion of academic and intellectual interest. However, this has not yet been matched by a systematic scholarly focus on Rojava in the form of edited volumes or conference panels. In other words, whereas it is common to see a panel focusing exclusively on Iraqi Kurdistan, for example, it is still rare to find something similar for Rojava.
This panel aims to fill this gap by bringing together an array of scholarly work scrutinizing the Syrian Kurds and Rojava. Specifically, it focuses on the question of how the Syrian Kurds are disrupting various boundaries with their social and political movement. Transgressing and disrupting established boundaries is arguably the most visible consequence of the Syrian Kurds' actions. First of all, they are disrupting the physical boundaries in the region by throwing social bodies into crises with their project of democratic confederalism. Moreover, the Syrian Kurds are confronting a number of established concepts of international and national politics such as state, territory, and legitimacy. This is also true for our social scientific work. Rojava is not only disrupting our theoretical categories such as state versus non-state actors. It is also challenging the lens, such as tribalism, ethnicity, and religion, through which the Middle East is perceived. Finally, the revolutionary movement in Rojava is also transforming how we perceive revolutions and how revolutions take place and proceed.
In light of these, the panel will investigate the disruptions created by Rojava. Tied by this common theme, the papers will analyze various aspects of the recent social and political history of the Syrian Kurds. They will demonstrate how and through which mechanisms Rojava challenges our politics, theories, epistemologies, and methodologies. Relying on empirical data and theoretical investigations, the papers will touch upon an array of issues from revolution to geopolitics to epistemologies of social sciences. Consequently, the panel will attempt to both counter the lack of focused attention on the Syrian Kurds and make a meaningful scholarly contribution to the Kurdish studies.


Intl Rltns/Aff; Pol Science; Socio




(American University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Vera Eccarius-Kelly

(Siena College, NY)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Mehmet Gurses

(Florida Atlantic University)
Mehmet Gurses is an associate professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. He received his B.A. degree in political science and international relations from Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, and his doctorate from University of...
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Ipek Demir

(University of Leicester/UK)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Huseyin Rasit

(Yale University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Seevan Saeed

(Shaanxi Normal University- China)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Alexander Kolokotronis

(Yale University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Co-Author;
Kolokotronis, Alexander (Yale University) - Abstract Second Author