Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Kurdish Awakening: Nation Building in a Fragmented Homeland

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Kurdish Awakening: Nation Building in a Fragmented Homeland

Article excerpt

Kurdish Awakening: Nation Building in a Fragmented Homeland. Edited by Ofra Bengio. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014. 384 pp. $60.

Bengio, arguably Israel's leading scholar on the Kurds, has edited a rich and timely volume on the subject, assembling contributors who employ original sources in Kurdish, Turkish, and Arabic to present new insights.

Divided into five sections, based mainly on contemporary geographic configurations, Kurdish Awakening begins with three general essays on the Kurds. Benyamin Neuberger presents a comparative analysis of Kurdish nationalisms in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria; Michael Eppel examines Kurdish tribes and emirates and how their historical memory influenced Kurdish identity before the rise of contemporary nationalism; Eli Amarilyo looks at how tribes have contributed both to the development of Kurdish nationalism and its retardation.

The second section deals with Iraq. Sherko Kirmanj argues that the lack of core Iraqi national values contributed to a stronger Kurdish identity. Rachel Kantz Feder analyzes various Iraqi Kurdish draft constitutions, none of which have been ratified. Ronen Zedel examines four novels written in Arabic by Kurdish authors, illustrating the complexities of the protagonists' multiple identities.

Moving on to Turkey, Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak looks at nonviolent Kurdish political movements and their relationship to the much more powerful and violent PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) while Duygu Atlas analyzes changing state policies toward the increasingly active role of Kurdish women. …

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