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The Kurds of Iraq: Nationalism and Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Kurds of Iraq: Nationalism and Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan
Mahir A. Aziz

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Over ninety years since their absorption into the modern Iraqi state, the Kurdish people of Iraq still remain an apparent anomaly in the modern world - a nation without a state. In 'The Kurds of Iraq', Mahir Aziz explores this incongruity, and asks the pertinent questions, who are the Kurds today? What is their relationship to the Iraqi state? How do they perceive themselves and their prospective political future? And in what way are they crucial for the stability of the Iraqi state? In the wake of the Gulf War of 1991 in the face of the Iraqi state, the Kurds endeavoured to create a de facto state and to concretise and stabilise the institutions that would enable this. 'The Kurds of Iraq' thus examines the creation, evolution and development of Kurdish nationalism despite the suppression of its political and cultural manifestations. Through extensive interviews in the field, Aziz assesses the impact of recent history on the complex process of identity formation amongst Kurdish students at three of the nation's leading universities.

He provides an in depth examination of students' socio-economic backgrounds, and their thoughts on and experiences of what it means to be Kurdish in the modern Iraqi state, and the impact this has on their perception of their language, culture and religion. Aziz's invaluable and extensive field research furthermore serves as a point of departure for an investigation into the relationship between national identity and historical memory in Iraqi Kurdistan and beyond. He thus analyses wider issues of the intersection and interdependency of national, regional, ethnic, tribal and local identities. He thus constructs an intimate portrait of the Kurds of Iraq, which will provide an important insight for students and researchers of the Middle East and for those interested the important issues of nationalism and ethnic identity in the modern nation state, and the impact these issues have on the stability of Iraq itself.

Table of Contents


Part One

Chapter 1
The Construction of Kurdish National Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan

Chapter 2
Nationalism, Nation, State, Nation State and Stateless Nation

Chapter 3
Approaches to Nationalism and National Identity

Chapter 4
Making Sense of Kurdish History: Territory, Language and Proto-Nationalism

Chapter 5
The Historical and Socio-Political Conditions for the Development of Kurdish Nationalism: 1921–1991

Chapter 6
Reconstructing and Consolidating National Identity: 1990–2008

Part Two

Chapter 7
Kurdish Nationalism among University Students

Chapter 8
Toward an Understanding of Modern Kurdish Nationalism and National Identity

Chapter 9
Post-1990s 'Kurdistaniyeti'

Author Info

Mahir A. Aziz was educated at the University of Salahaddin, the University of Baghdad and Birkbeck College, London, and holds a PhD in Kurdish Studies from the University of Exeter. He previously taught at the University of Salahaddin, Erbil and the Kurdistan University, Hawler, and is currently the Deputy Director General of Scholarships and Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research for the Kurdistan Regional Government.


‘An excellent work’
Professor Tim Niblock, University of Exeter

‘Aziz’s work is the most reliable work on Iraqi Kurdish nationalism, nation-building and national identity available. For those wishing to work with the Kurds in Iraq, the Greater Kurdistan Region, or in the diaspora, reading this book is a must.’
Professor Sharon Linzey, University of Salahaddin, Erbil

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784532734
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2014
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 20 integrated black & white

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