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Essays on Kurds

Historiography, Orality, and Nationalism

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Amir Hassanpour

The essays in this collection offer robust theoretical analysis of language and cultural rights, class and gender, policy and politics, history and historiography, nation and nationalism, and Marxism. They continue to remain original to a vast array of debates and contestations in these areas. The book includes unpublished pieces and some key contributions that are most relevant to the contemporary debates on theory and method of nation/nationalism, and the struggle of national minorities for sovereignty, cultural and political rights. Each chapter provides original data and are written over a span of decades, but significantly, they offer a radical break with the colonial, orientalist, and nationalist traditions of knowledge production. This book is an exemplary exploration of nation and nationalism in a Marxist dialectical, historical materialism.

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7 Diaspora, Homeland, and Communication Technologies

 

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This chapter examines the media in the diaspora of the Kurds. While there are thousands of non-state peoples around the world, the Kurds of the Middle East are distinguished by their division among the four neighboring states of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. These states have perpetrated genocide, linguicide, ethnocide, and ethnic cleansing against their Kurdish populations. State violence against the Kurds has fanned the flames of nationalist movements that seek self-determination, statehood, or autonomy. This nationalism is also present in the Kurdish diasporas in the West, which are sites of nation- and state-building activities. The tradition of building political and cultural movements, governments, parliaments, armies, or media in exile is rather old and well documented (Olson 1999). What invites more reflection are claims about the enhanced ability of non-state entities to engage in disrupting the modern nation-state’s centered sovereignty and replacing it by decentered power centers (Luke 1997, 14). These theoretical claims about the demise of sovereignty confer on new media technologies unprecedented power in disturbing modernity’s world order.

The case of the Kurdish diasporas, especially those formed in the West, is also distinguished by the geostrategic significance of the countries that rule over the Kurds. Western powers, especially the United States, Britain, Germany, and France, have vital interests in the region, and intervene in the political, cultural, ←171 | 172→and media activities of the Kurds. This chapter focuses on a diasporic satellite television channel that turned into a site of struggle between Kurdish diasporas, on the...

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