The Centre for Syrian Studies presents Dr Zeynep Kaya of the University of Sheffield speaking about her research and book, Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism.
Since the early twentieth-century, Kurds have challenged the borders and national identities of the states they inhabit. Nowhere is this more evident than in their promotion of the ‘Map of Greater Kurdistan', an ideal of a unified Kurdish homeland in an ethnically and geographically complex region. This powerful image is embedded in the consciousness of the Kurdish people, both within the region and, perhaps even more strongly, in the diaspora.
Addressing the lack of rigorous research and analysis of Kurdish politics from an international perspective, Dr Kaya focuses on self-determination, territorial identity and international norms to suggest how these imaginations of homelands have been socially, politically and historically constructed (much like the state territories the Kurds inhabit), as opposed to their perception of being natural, perennial or intrinsic. Adopting a non-political approach to notions of nationhood and territoriality, ‘Mapping Kurdistan' is a systematic examination of the international processes that have enabled a wide range of actors to imagine and create the cartographic image of greater Kurdistan that is in use today.
Dr Kaya is a Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the LSE. Her main research areas involve borderlands, territoriality, conflict, peace, political legitimacy and gender. She has recently published a monograph entitled Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism with Cambridge University Press, is co-editor of I.B. Tauris-Bloomsbury's book series on Kurdish studies and co-convenor of the Kurdish Studies Series with the LSE Middle East Centre. She is also an Academic Associate at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge.
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