Further Reading: Feminism in the MENA/Kurdistan

As we near the start of the semester, A Reflection of Kurdish Women on Revolutionary Feminism(s) and Solidarity in the MENA | Kurdistan, by Elif Genc, Gülay Kilicaslan, and Berivan Kutlay Sarikaya, re/draws our attention to the ways that feminism is diverse, and within that diversity is room for further conversations and (at times) negotiation.

The value of this article is its focus on the spaces for discussion and the possibilities for different feminisms to coexist, and on a deeper level, which feminism/s, when, and how they shift with time.

Sonja Hamad, ‘Kurdish Spring’, in Jin – Jiyan – Azadi: Women, Life, Freedom.

Written after the 2019 annual MESA (Middle East Studies Association) Meeting in New Orleans, where the authors had attended the meeting, ‘Feminist Conversation on Current Uprisings in the Middle East’, the piece highlights the significance of space, as well as marginalization, silencing, and the ways that violence emerges between these:

Kurds, particularly Kurdish women, have been marginalized and silenced in various ways and layers due to their particular position: they are subjected to intersecting forms of violence as colonized subjects under four nation-states in the MENA. These colonial subjectivities have permeated the consciousness and social relations of the feminist collectives in the MENA in their everyday politics.

As Kurdish women activist-academics, we consider that these colonial subjectivities must be problematized and decolonized in feminist conversations that see themselves as progressive. The milieu for this prefigurative feminist politics can only be fostered if the hierarchical power relations, embodied in these colonial subjectivities, are acknowledged and unpacked in feminist praxis in the MENA. 

Elif Genc, Gülay Kilicaslan, Berivan Kutlay Sarikaya, 2019. ‘A Reflection of Kurdish Women on Revolutionary Feminism(s) and Solidarity in the MENA | Kurdistan’, Kohl, 5: 3.

Looking to our conversations this semester, the article is an important piece to reflect on in weeks 1, 2, and 4, and should be read alongside its fellow articles on feminist revolutions in this edition of Kohl.

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