Kurdish Studies Association elects new officers

—— For immediate release ——

May 10, 2013

Kurdish Studies Association elects new officers

The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) is pleased to announce the selection of new officers. Christian Sinclair will take over from Shayee Khanaka as the new president of the Kurdish Studies Association. Azat Zana Gündoğan will be vice-president, William Kopycki will continue as secretary, and Shayee Khanaka will move to the position of KSA treasurer. The four will begin their terms at the next KSA business meeting, which will take place at the Middle East Studies Association meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in October of this year.

Christian Sinclair is assistant director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona. He has been actively involved in KSA for more than five years, and has been KSA treasurer for that time. Says outgoing president Shayee Khanaka, “Christian has been by far the most active member of KSA. He has organized several panels and movie viewings at MESA, in addition to representing the organization in various forums and community groups. Christian’s organization and academic prowess will, undoubtedly, expand KSA’s reach and role in academia and beyond.” Sinclair’s research interests within the field of Kurdish Studies include media, language policy and planning, human rights, and politics, with a focus on Turkey and Syria. In the past year Sinclair has presented a number of papers, including: “Human rights, social media, and the Kurds” at Iowa State University, “Assimilation and Arabization: Language and linguistic identity amongst Kurds in Syria” at MESA in Denver, and “Kurds in motion: Mapping migration and movement across ‘boundaries’ of Syria” at the Association of American Geographers conference in Los Angeles. He is currently finishing a PhD in Kurdish Studies at the University of Exeter, the focus of which is Turkey’s state-run, Kurdish-language channel, TRT6.

Azat  Zana Gündoğan an assistant professor of Sociology at University of Michigan-Flint and received his PhD in sociology from Binghamton University-SUNY in 2013. His current research interests center on the social production of space and scale, socio-spatial inequalities, and urban social movements, specifically spatial and social dynamics of Kurdish political mobilization. His most recent research focuses on an Alevi community in a satellite city of Istanbul within the context of peripheral urbanization, industrialization and migration, and their political mobilization against an urban transformation project. Gündoğan has published extensively on Kurdish political mobilization, space, and social movements in Turkey and has also translated several scholarly books on Kurdish history and politics.

William Kopycki is the Middle East field director for the Library of Congress and is based in Cairo, Egypt. William has served as KSA secretary for the past five years and will continue in the same position. The Cairo Overseas Office is responsible for acquiring Kurdish publications for Library of Congress and other libraries in North America.

Shayee Khanaka is the librarian for Linguistics and Middle East Collections at University of California-Berkeley. Khanaka has served as KSA president for the past five years, bringing the organization to a new level of professionalism.

Please join the Kurdish Studies Association at its annual meeting at MESA. Details regarding time and location will be posted on the Kurdish Studies Association website (kurdishstudies.org) and on the KSA facebook page (facebook.com/KurdishStudies). The Kurdish Studies Association is a non-profit 501(c)3 registered in California, with a mission of fostering understanding through academic engagement.

—— end of release ——

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  1. It is good to see MESA engaging the Kurdish issue now. When I was trying to complete my own doctoral work in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and during my earlier studies as well, the word Kurd was never mentioned nor listed on a typical MESA syllabus.

    The same professors who championed the Arab quest for a 22nd state acted deaf, dumb, and blind on the plight of some 40 million truly stateless Kurds–victimized by all of their neighbors.

    Furthermore, I was met with nothing but hostility when I brought such issues up. I would later be denied a PHD dissertation advisor by the tenured chief honcho (a specialist on Turkey, no less) in the program for such “sins.”

    While this was happening, my doctoral research on the Kurds for another professor, in an abbreviated form, was discovered in a major academic journal (the Fall 1982 Middle East Review) and was soon listed on the recommended reference list of one of the world’s leading academies for poli sci, Paris’s acclaimed Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po). The name of my study: “British Petroleum Politics, Arab Nationalism, and the Kurdish Struggle For Independence.” It remains on the list to this very day.

    My book, “The Quest For Justice In The Middle East…The Arab-Israeli Conflict In Greater Perspective (http://q4j-middle-east.com), ” contains a number of major chapters on the Kurdish issue. It’s Foreword was written mostly by the President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria. It’s in at least 15 major universities so far–despite my exposing the duplicity described above with both barrels blasting.

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