CfP: Kurdish Geopolitics

Call for Papers: Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2014, Tampa, Florida, April 8-12th

“Kurdish Geopolitics”

Session organizers:
Till F. Paasche, Department of Geography, Soran University, Kurdish Region, Iraq
Sanan Moradi, Department of Geography, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, US

Once again Kurdistan is at a crossroads regarding its future geopolitical arrangements. On the one hand, there is an old pan-Kurdish independence discourse that underlies, in one way or another, every debate on the region. On the other hand, more recent events that are sometimes not immediately controlled by the Kurds themselves re-structure Kurdistan granting increasing degrees of sovereignty and autonomy. In particular, this refers to the post-2003 events in Iraq including the current sectarian terror and the ongoing conflict in Syria. However, as Kurdish history has taught us, events in one part of Kurdistan do not leave other parts untouched. A tragic reminder of this is the Syrian Kurds pouring into Iraq.

The combination of the century old independence struggle and rapidly changing geopolitical formations create different forms of autonomous Kurdish regions which scholars still struggle to define. While many Kurdish individuals and politicians still see independence as an impermissible right, pragmatically, it seems, Kurds gradually tie their struggle for democratization within their hosting states and opt for shared sovereignty that is part of federal structures. While lacking de jure independence, parts of Kurdistan function as nation states. This relatively new development thus re-positions Kurds in the regional power-landscape and allows them to become a major player in democratization of their host countries, establish regional economic networks, and, although slowly, play a more active role in regional geopolitics beyond their immediate borders.

Following last year’s AAG session ‘Diverse Kurdish Geographies of Space, Place and Power’ this call for papers seeks to continue the discussion and attempts to provide a platform that enables an interdisciplinary dialogue on questions concerned with Kurdish nationhood, self-determination, sovereignty, and federalism.

Possible presentation topics include:

– Explanation of the different contemporary Kurdish (semi-) autonomous structures?

– Relationships between oil and sovereignty

– Strategic relationship between Turkey and the KRG and its impact on the PKK

– The Arab Spring and Kurdish territoriality (Syria and beyond)

– Iran’s new administration and democratic prospects for its ethnic periphery

– Turkey’s recent democratic reform and its (geo)political imperatives

If in doubt if your idea fits the session or if you have any other queries do not hesitate to contact the organizers (till.paasche@soran.edu.iq, moradis@miamioh.edu)

Submission deadline is December 3, 2013.

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