New KSA Logo


The Kurdish Studies Association has a new logo! The KSA’s new logo was designed by Iraj Esmailpour Ghouchani. More about the designer can be found at his website here: Many thanks Iraj for the inspired design!

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 (,

Submission deadline is December 3, 2013.

Call for Papers: Kurdish Studies Association at MESA 2014

Call for Paper Abstracts
MESA 2014

Deadline for submission: February 8, 2014

The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) announces a call for papers for the November 2014 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) meeting to be held in Washington, DC, November 22-25, 2014.

While there is extensive literature on the Kurdish diaspora in Europe, very little, if anything, has been written on Kurdish communities in the United States. Therefore, to build on the literature of the global Kurdish diaspora, KSA would like to highlight at this meeting papers focusing on the Kurds and the United States, hosting both a panel and a roundtable event to explore this relationship.

For this special panel we are seeking papers that include, for example, Kurdish diaspora issues in the United States, activities of political parties/organizations working in Washington (Kurdistan Regional Government, Peace and Democracy Party, Kurdish American Caucus, etc), histories of Kurdish organizations in the US (Kurdish National Congress of North America, Kurdish American Educational Society, Kurdish American Youth Organization, etc), or the return “home” of second generation Kurds to Kurdistan, to name a few possibilities.

The roundtable will explore the state of Kurdish Studies in higher education in the United States and prospects for growth. KSA is accepting nominations for roundtable speakers who will lead the discussions at this session.

Selected panel papers will be presented at the MESA 2014 meeting. Those papers will then be put together for a proposed special KSA-sponsored issue of the Kurdish Studies journal, to be submitted for approval after MESA. Proceedings from the roundtable will be used to formulate an additional journal article.


By December 15, 2013, please forward nominations for speakers for the roundtable session. Self-nominations are welcome.

By February 8, 2014, please send abstracts of 300-400 words for the panel. Those selected for the panel will be asked to submit their abstracts to MESA via their online submission system by February 15, 2014.

Nominations and abstracts should be sent to:

warm regards,

Christian Sinclair
President, Kurdish Studies Association

Kurdish Studies Association events at MESA/New Orleans

2013-Logo-w-datesKurdish Studies Association events for MESA
If you are attending this year’s MESA conference in New Orleans, please join us at the following KSA events:

Thursday, October 10
Kurdish Studies Association General Meeting
Napoleon DC (3rd floor)

Friday, October 11
KSA sponsored film screening: About 111 Girls
MESA FilmFest venue

Saturday, October 12
KSA lunch gathering
Location: TBA

Saturday, October 12
Location: check MESA program
KSA sponsored panel

‘Othering’ and Kurds: Exploring Displacement, Belonging, and Resistance

Chair: Christian Sinclair, U Arizona
Discussant: Diane E. King, Ohio State U/U Kentucky

–Ozge Sensoy Bahar, UIUC–“Back Then and Now”: Experiences of Armed Conflict, Migration, and Its Aftermath through the Eyes of Kurdish Migrant Women

–Mehmet Kurt (panel organizer), Bingöl U–Changing Social Structure in Kurdish Border Towns: The Reflections of State-Society Relations on Identity Formation

–Ipek Demir, U Leicester, UK–Translating and Transforming Kurdishness in Diaspora

–Mija Sanders, U Arizona/ Mercy Corps–Being a Kurdish Transgender Woman Sex-Worker in Diyarbakir: Narratives of Displacement, Belonging, and Resistance


Kurdish Studies Association: Call for Logo Design


The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) announces an open call to artistically-inclined individuals who are willing to design a logo for the association. This will be the logo used for KSA’s letterhead in official correspondence, website, and used for any other promotional materials as deemed suitable by the executive committee. Logo submissions do not have to be from KSA members.

The logo design must fulfill the following criteria:

1)    The design should be original

2)    The name “Kurdish Studies Association” should incorporated into the design

3)    It should accommodate the technical specifications:

a)     The design will possibly be used on various backgrounds (white, black, and even other colors), and will be used in different sizes (a relatively small one on the website and correspondence, but bigger in the case of posters/signage).

b)    Submissions may be in multiple colors, but should work equally well in the case of black and white printed materials.

c)     Designs should initially be submitted as low resolution JPG or PNG files (height and width 400px maximum).

d)    Designs should be sent as high-resolution vector file if chosen as a finalist.

Submissions should be received by October 9th with a review and selection during the KSA meeting to be held on October 10th at the Middle East Studies Association Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Three logos will be chosen and posted on the KSA website for a final vote.

Legal information:

The creator of the willing design will be asked to transfer copyright of the design to the association so it can be properly protected for the benefit of the association. The design also must not include any other copyrighted materials for which any license is required.

Submission information:

Please submit your design to with the subject line: KSA Logo Competition. Submit all entries via email by October 9th.

CfP: Kurdish Migration and Borderlands

Kurdish Migration and Borderlands

Special Session Conveners:
Dr Welat Zeydanlıoğlu, Kurdish Studies Network, Sweden
Dr Cengiz Gunes, Open University, UK

30 May – 1 June 2014 | Regent’s College London

Regent’s Centre for Transnational Studies invites scholars, researchers, students, policy makers and media to this interdisciplinary conference on migration to Turkey, from Turkey, and in Turkey. The conference will be held at Regent’s University campus in Regent’s Park, London, UK from 30 May to 1 June 2014.

The panel “Kurdish migration and borderlands” aims to draw attention to the fundamental role of borders, boundaries, crossings and zones in Kurdish geography, mobility and existence.

For more information:

CfP: The PKK, Kurdish Nationalism and the Future of Turkey

Call for Papers — International Conference: The PKK, Kurdish Nationalism, and the Future of Turkey (7 November, Alexandria, VA)

International Conference: The PKK, Kurdish Nationalism and the Future of Turkey

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Virginia Tech
National Capital Region 

1021 Prince Street 

Alexandria, VA 22314

Abstract Submission Deadline: Monday, 19 August 2013.

Organized and Sponsored by

  • School of Public & International Affairs, Virginia Tech, National Capital Region.
  • Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair (Indiana University)
  • Center for Turkish Studies (Portland State University)

We plan to organize an international conference on the PKK, Kurdish Nationalism and the Future of Turkey. This will be a one day conference with four specific panels. The conference will be held at the Virginia Tech Alexandria Campus, in the heart of Old Town, Alexandria, and the Washington DC metro region.

The objective of this conference is to understand the complex relationship between Kurds and Modern Turkey. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire left unprecedented political conditions in the region, with the formation of nation-states without any social and economic foundations. In this context, the new form of nationalism attempted to create a territory-based form of national identity; however, demographic challenges such as urban and rural demographic contradictions), a lack of higher education, lack of an established rule of law and of capital accumulation has led to instability and the formation of a non-organic type of modernization and national identity in the region and Turkey. In the meantime, transnational economic development has weakened the role of the nation-state over the last 30 years and ethnic nationalisms have emerged across the Middle East. This set the stage for the resurgence of Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. The Marxist-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) first waged war against the Turkish Nation State in 1984. However, as a result of the social, political and economic transformations in the world and US involvement in the region, the PKK changed its ideological foundation from Marxism to nationalism in 1995, as part of the 5th PKK Congress. At this time, the Marxist star was removed from its flag and ethnic nationalist symbols and slogans were used to replace it. At the same time, more than sixty percent of the Kurdish population migrated to non-Kurdish industrialized cities in Turkey. Today, the Kurdish population in modern Turkey is more educated, urbanized, and they invest in the Western as much as the Eastern part of the country. Therefore, aspirations and objectives of Kurdish Nationalism is currently in a stage of transformation, and its objectives have begun to shift from that of obtaining an independent Kurdish State to seeking the status as equal citizens of modern Turkey. The latter objective – the integration of the Kurdish population into the larger population of Turkey – is likely to create numerous opportunities for the modernization of Turkey and the wider region. In this conference, we will explore this transformation, and possible future trajectories between Turkey and its relations with the Kurds.           

You will find detailed information about the conference below:

PANEL-1: Kurdish Nationalism in Iran, Iraq and Syria

We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:

  • Kurdish nationalism in Iran
  • Kurdish nationalism in Iraq
  • Kurdish nationalism in Syria
  • Kurdish nationalism in the Diaspora

PANEL-2: Kurdish Nationalism in Contemporary Turkey

We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:

  • Kurdish Nationalism in historical context
  • Kurdish and Turkish nationalisms
  • Imperialism and Kurdish nationalism
  • American foreign policy towards Turkey and the Kurds

PANEL-3: PKK and Kurdish Nationalism

We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:

  • Origin and development of the PKK
  • The PKK and the ‘war on terrorism.’
  • Relationship between the PKK, the US and Europe

PANEL-4: The Kurds and the Future of Turkey

We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:

  • The future relationship between Kurds and Turkey
  • JDP and Kurdish Nationalism
  • Kurdish regional government and Turkey
  • Future trajectories of American foreign policy towards Turkey and the Kurds
  • Future trajectories of Turkish and Kurdish politics  


Abstract Submissions

Please submit your interest, with a short abstract (300-400 Words) and short bio (100-200 words). The deadline for abstract submissions is Monday, 19 August 2013. The authors of accepted papers will be notified by 1 September 2013.

Please submit your paper to the following address:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate contact us.


Dr. Kemal Silay, Professor of Turkish Language and Literature; Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Endowed Chair Professor; Director, Turkish Language Flagship Center; Director, Turkish Studies Program; Indiana University 

Dr. Tugrul Keskin, Assistant Professor of International and Middle East Studies; Affiliated Faculty of Black Studies Sociology, and Turkish Studies; Portland State University

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 ( and on the KSA facebook page ( 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 ——

Please forward as appropriate

Membership registration

Dear Kurdish Studies Association members,

The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) will be holding officer elections in May. Prior to elections we are formalizing our membership roster. If you consider yourself a member of KSA, or are considering becoming a member, please complete the following 3-question survey:

Registration must be completed by May 5, 2013. Only those who register via this survey will be eligible to vote in next month’s elections.

Thank you for your participation in, and support of, the Kurdish Studies Association.


Shayee Khanaka
KSA President

CfP: Kurdish Geographies of Space, Place, and Power

Call for Papers:
Kurdish Geographies of Space, Place, and Power

Association of American Geographers
April 9-13, 2013
Los Angeles, CA

Events unfolding across the Middle East over the past two years are lessons in geography; reminders that the ostensibly smooth cartographic renderings of the nation-state space little reflect grounded practice, desire, and identity. As boundaries shift, governments collapse, and the flow of goods, people, and ideas expand, alliances emerge that challenge our assumptions about the seamlessness of political power. Into the 21st century, no one group has more challenged the popular global imaginary than the Kurds, yet to date work on the Kurds remains sparse. Spread across several countries, the Kurds constitute perhaps the largest stateless nation in the world. Popular geopolitical narratives about the Kurds pivot around the collective experience with war, displacement, and imbalances of power. In reality, the Kurdish experience is anything but collective – defined by a range of national affiliations as well as linguistic, gendered, and ethnic identities.

To this end, this session seeks papers that can contribute to the still small but growing body of work on the Kurds and Kurdayetî (“Kurdishness”) in a way that sheds light on the diverse Kurdish geographies of space, place, and power. A lack of institutional support in the US for Kurdish Studies has limited the number and size of forums for exchange among North American geographers (and scholars in general) about these issues. This panel session is a response to this void and hopes to initiate a fruitful dialogue on a people and place(s) often excluded from regional studies on the Middle East.

Papers may address but are not limited to issues of: movement and mobility, conflict, nationalism, stateness, gender, language, and human rights.

Please send an abstract of up to 250 words by October 5th, 2012 to the session organizers:

Also include your name, institutional affiliation, and position.

If your abstract is accepted for submission, you will be required to become a member of AAG and register for the conference by October 24, 2012. Note that there are reduced registration fees for students and underemployed members. Details can be found here:

>>Download .pdf of call for papers here.