Kurdish studies have historically been sidelined within Middle East studies or reduced to the study of Kurdish nationalism. While there has been a proliferation of Kurdish studies across the US and Europe in recent years, there has been only limited engagement with Kurdish society in its complexity. The aim of this project led by Nadje Al-Ali, Robert Family Professor of International Studies, is to support and contribute to critical and original Kurdish studies that combine theoretically cutting-edge and empirically grounded work while highlighting creative approaches (films, art, literature) to the study of Kurds and Kurdish societies.
This year, the Kurdish Studies initiative supported a lecture by a visiting scholar, a teach-in, and a research project that resulted in a co-authored article.
Jineolojî, the women’s science proposed and developed by the Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement, has become central to their transnational organizing both in the Middle East, as well as in Europe and the Americas. Activists of the Kurdish women’s movement critique positivist and androcentric forms of knowledge production as well as liberal feminism, and instead propose Jineolojî, which aims to rediscover women’s histories and restore women’s central place in society. Based on a series of interviews with Kurdish women involved in developing Jineolojî, this article firstly situates Jineolojî within wider transnational and decolonial feminist approaches, and secondly draws out the main underlying ideas constituting Jineolojî.