The Kurds in Syria: Past, Present and Future (CfP)

The Kurds in Syria: Past, Present and Future
Call for papers

The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) invites paper proposals for a KSA-sponsored panel at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) meeting to be held November 17-20, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

This panels aims to bring together scholars from various disciplines to shed light on the situation of the Kurds in Syria—the largest minority in the country, yet the smallest population of Kurds of the major Middle Eastern states with Kurdish minorities—by examining the past, discussing the present, and pondering the future.

For the past nine months, Syria has been embroiled in a bloody conflict that will see, at some point, significant changes for the Kurdish minority in that country. Should the revolution succeed, Kurds may have an opportunity to become equal partners in a post-Ba’ath, post-Assad Syria. Some questions that come to mind for this panel are: How have Kurds maintained their cultural identity under Ba’ath rule? How effective have Kurdish political parties in Syria been at representing Kurdish aspirations? What has been the role of Kurdish youth in the current uprisings? What type of role will Kurds play in a new Syria? How have Kurdish politics in other countries helped/hindered the Kurdish cause in Syria?

The KSA is looking for five (5) abstracts that, together, will offer a multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted look at the Kurdish situation in Syria.

Paper themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Art, Music and Literature
  • Culture
  • Democracy
  • Education
  • Gender & Women’s Studies
  • Human Rights/Minority Rights
  • Linguistics
  • Politics
  • Social Media

Please e-mail abstracts of up to 300 words and a 100-word bio to Christian Sinclair (christian dot sinclair at arizona dot edu). Deadline for submission is January 23, 2012. These should be sent as a single attachment in MSWord format.

Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by members of the KSA executive committee and selections will be made by February 8, 2012. KSA will set up a panel submission area on the MESA system and selected panelists will then have one week to submit their proposal via myMESA. Panelists must, prior to submission, have set up their own account and have paid MESA membership dues.

Accepted panelists must also be a registered member of the Kurdish Studies Association. Membership details can be found on the KSA website ( beginning January 1, 2012.

Please note that panelists are responsible for arranging funding to attend MESA.

Panel papers will be published in a single volume on the KSA website after the MESA meeting.

Film screening of Min Dît: Before Your Eyes

At MESA 2011 in Washington DC, the Kurdish Studies Association sponsored a film at the MESA FilmFest. The Kurdish film, Min Dît, showed Saturday evening at 9pm, with over 50 people in attendance. The director of Min Dît, Miraz Bezar, was on hand at the screening and fielded questions from the audience after the showing of the film.

Bezar explained his thoughts behind with story line and its relationship to Kurdish mythology. He also spoke about the film’s reception in Turkey and obstacles he faced in distributing the film there.

Min Dît (aka The Children of Diyarbakir or Before Your Eyes) was released in 2010.

Film director, Miraz Bezar (center, blue jacket w/white stripes), at MESA with some of the attendees at film screening (Dec 3, 2011)