[P4834] Narratives of Struggle: Maintaining and Preserving Kurdish Cultural Heritage

Created by Christian Sinclair
Monday, 11/20/17 10:30am


This organized panel seeks to explore the narratives and politics of cultural maintenance and preservation in the face of repression and conflict. Culture, as defined by UNESCO, is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by [a human] as a member of society." Cultural heritage can be tangible or intangible. According to Bouchenaki (2003), "[c]ultural heritage is a synchronized relationship involving society, norms, and values" and the "intangible heritage should be regarded as the larger framework within which tangible heritage takes on shape and significance."

The overt struggles faced by the Kurds across the Middle East are well known and have a rich literature. What is less researched, and hence the theme of this panel, are the behind-the-scenes efforts to maintain, preserve, and document Kurdish cultural heritage in the face of these decades-long struggles in the region and beyond. How does culture survive decades of oppression? How is it preserved and documented when challenged by the state or even from within?

There is no singular Kurdish culture, but rather a multitude of sub-cultures that together form Kurdish cultural heritage, writ large. Questions this panel hopes to answer include: Who defines these Kurdish culture(s)? For whom is the culture maintained and/or preserved, and why? Are there competing narratives of a singular cultural element? What risks and challenges are inherent in preserving Kurdish culture in the region? What are the relationships between tangible and intangible Kurdish culture?


Kurdish Studies Association






Christian Sinclair

(Moravian College)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer;

Amir Sharifi

(California State University Long Beach)
Teaching/Research Interests: My central interest is literacy socialization as a cultural model, with a particular focus on how scriptal and calligraphic traditions inform modern literacy and orthographic practices in Iranian communities across time and...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Aynur De Rouen

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

Anna Tribble

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

Ruken Isik

(University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Thomas McGee

(Independent Researcher)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;