CfP: Narratives of Struggle: Maintaining and Preserving Kurdish Cultural Heritage

TVP_141120_5154The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) announces a call for papers for the November 2017 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) meeting to be held in Washington DC, November 18-21, 2017.

Narratives of Struggle: Maintaining and Preserving Kurdish Cultural Heritage

Deadline for submission: February 9, 2017
Organizer and Chair: Christian Sinclair

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?

Points of consideration may include, but are not limited to:

  • The role of institutions such as libraries, archives and museums
  • Patrimony, ownership and possession
  • Hegemony and representation
  • Gendered perspectives on cultural heritage
  • Language and ethno-linguistics
  • Religion and religious institutions  

DEADLINE: By February 9, 2017, please send abstracts of 300-400 words for the panel. Include a brief 50-75 word bio. Those selected for the panel will be asked to submit their abstracts to MESA via their online submission system by February 15, 2017. Abstracts for this KSA-sponsored panel should be sent to: KSA Executive Secretary, William Kopycki at w.kopycki@gmail.com.

NOTE: All selected panelists must be members of MESA at the time of paper submissions to MESA. Student membership to MESA is $65. Professional membership rates vary according to income. Please do not submit an abstract to us if you are not prepared to join MESA once your abstract has been accepted. For more information about the MESA meeting, go to: http://mesana.org/annual-meeting/

 

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