National Identity Discourses in Contemporary Bahdinani Kurdish Poetry in Iraq
Date: 27 August 2019
University of Exeter
PhD in Kurdish Studies
The dissertation examines how Kurdish national identity has been culturally constructed through the contemporary Bahdinani Kurdish poetry in Iraq, specifically from the first Kurdish autonomy after Adar Agreement in 1970 to the Kurdish Independence Referendum in 2017. The main aim of the study is to identify the transformation of ...
The dissertation examines how Kurdish national identity has been culturally constructed through the contemporary Bahdinani Kurdish poetry in Iraq, specifically from the first Kurdish autonomy after Adar Agreement in 1970 to the Kurdish Independence Referendum in 2017. The main aim of the study is to identify the transformation of identity discourses produced in Kurdish poetry in accordance with the nature of the relationship between the Kurds and the central government in Baghdad. The aim is to explore how Kurdish national identity was imagined and articulated during different phases of Kurdish nationalism. Based on Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (1991) on the relationship between literature and nationalism, this study analyses and discusses Kurdish identity discourses produced in Bahdinani (Kurmanji Kurdish) poetry. The examined period consists of three crucial historical phases (1970-1991, 1991-2003, and 2003-2017), each of which witnessed the emergence of a particular poetic trend in the Bahdinan region. For the first phase, under the Arab Ba’ath, the poetic work of two pioneer poets representing “Modern Kurdish Poetry” has been examined: Ebdulrehman Mizûrî and Mueyed Teyib. The second and third phases cover the period following Iraqi Kurdistan’s liberation from the Ba’ath (1991-2017). For these periods, Mihsin Qoçan and Burhan Zêbarî’s poetry has been examined: one as a representative of “Modernist Kurdish Poetry” in 1991-2003, and the other as a of “Popular Kurdish Poetry” during 2003-2017. It has been demonstrated that during the first historical phase, Kurdish identity was mostly imagined through gendering Kurdistan as feminine, carrying geographical, cultural and historical significance. The identity discourses of this stage were characterised by spatial aspects and features of belonging and homeland, while discourses of resistance emerged in a mainly symbolic and indirect fashion. In the second phase, following the establishment of a quasi-independent Kurdish entity in 1991, the poetic discourses mainly focused on a critique of the Kurdish Self, especially after the Kurdish civil war in 1994 and the misrule of the newly created Kurdish Regional Government. In the third phase, after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 and the Kurds’ participation in Iraqi rule, poetic discourses, widely circulated through digital media, turned this time to glorify the Kurdish Self and humiliate the Arab Other in an enthusiastic manner.
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