This event, as part of the Middle East Centre's Kurdish Studies Series, will be a discussion around Zeynep Kaya's latest book Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism.
Since the early twentieth-century, Kurds have challenged the borders and national identities of the states they inhabit. Nowhere is this more evident than in their promotion of the 'Map of Greater Kurdistan', an ideal of a unified Kurdish homeland in an ethnically and geographically complex region. This powerful image is embedded in the consciousness of the Kurdish people, both within the region and, perhaps even more strongly, in the diaspora.
Addressing the lack of rigorous research and analysis of Kurdish politics from an international perspective, Kaya focuses on self-determination, territorial identity and international norms to suggest how these imaginations of homelands have been socially, politically and historically constructed (much like the state territories the Kurds inhabit), as opposed to their perception of being natural, perennial or intrinsic. Adopting a non-political approach to notions of nationhood and territoriality, Mapping Kurdistan is a systematic examination of the international processes that have enabled a wide range of actors to imagine and create the cartographic image of greater Kurdistan that is in use today.
Zeynep Kaya is Visiting Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. Kaya is also an Academic Associate at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. She is interested in understanding how communities and political groups perceive, interact with and challenge international processes and dominant norms. Her research looks at the relationship between gender, violence and development in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
Robert Lowe is Deputy Director of the Middle East Centre. He joined the Centre when it opened in 2010. Robert is responsible for running the Centre's operations, research activities, fundraising and development. He oversees the events and publications programmes, research projects and public outreach. His main research interest is Kurdish politics, with particular focus on the Kurdish movement in Syria.
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