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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 The book includes unpublished pieces and some key contributions that are most relevant to the contemporary debates on theory and method of nation/nationalism, and the struggle of national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.

"Amir Hassanpour’s Essays on Kurds engages the themes of historiography, orality, and nationalism in the context of Middle East history and the complex multinational circumstances of the Kurdish diaspora. Hassanpour focuses on both the oppression of Kurds over the centuries, and resistance with special emphasis on their struggles, culture, and language as forces of liberation. This dialectical approach provides an illuminating framework for a history of the Kurds that draws on original sources, scholarship in many languages, and media texts. The result is an illuminating tour de force of critical historiography."—Douglas Kellner, Professor, George F. Kneller Chair in the Philosophy of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA

"This volume reaffirms that Amir Hassanpour was a pioneer in critically investigating and writing about Kurdish media culture, historiography, sociolinguistics, and nationalism. Grounded in wide-ranging and rich literature, the chapters are informed by theoretical and methodological lenses such as Marxism, feminism, and critical cultural studies. The author problematizes and provides fresh understanding of the complexity of a number of socio-cultural and historical issues, makes original contributions to theorizing them, and presents further research directions. This collection is a must-read for students and scholars of Middle Eastern studies in general and Kurdish studies in particular."—Jaffer Sheyholislami, Associate Professor, School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University

"Amir Hassanpour was a prominent multilingual, multidisciplinary, philosophical, analytical, and deeply humane Kurdish researcher, writer, and activist. These articles about human rights (also linguistic human rights and linguicide), justice, equality, freedom, and democracy are supremely relevant not only for all interested in the Kurds and the Kurdish languages, but for all oppressed peoples in the world—and for the apolitical researchers whom he critiqued."—Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Associate Professor (retired), Åbo Akademi University and Robert Phillipson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Management, Society and Communication, Cophenhagen Business School