CfP – Workshop on Political and Military Histories of Russian-Kurdish Relations (19th-21st Centuries)

Moscow, 10-11 June 2019

The involvement of Kurdish forces during the Crimean War inaugurated the political and military encounter of Russians and Kurds between Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Since then, these relations have formed an important and disputed aspect of Russian, and later Soviet, policies in the Middle East. Most significantly, these policies have extended well beyond the clash of the Tsarist and Ottoman Empires at the turn of the 20th century.

            While Russian and Soviet policies have included a sustained focus on the role of the Kurds, their political mobilization and activism in the 1920s-1930s and during the Cold War, the relationship has never been a simple one. It was deeply entangled in the nexus of regional politics and Russian/Soviet policies toward Turkey, Iran,Iraq and Syria, as well as in global dynamics. Conversely, mobilities and alliances with the ‘’East’’ have been important in shaping political identities, but remain a still understudied part of Kurdish political strategies on the international arena.

            Organized as part of the research project RUSKURD (Sciences Po Lille-EHESS), in partnership with the CEFR (Moscow) and the IFEA(Istanbul), this workshop aims at exploring key aspects of the political history of Russian-Kurdish relations. Ph.D candidates, postdoctoral researcher sand senior researchers are invited to present research based on historical, social and anthropological methods to explore the place of politics, ideology, violence and wars throughout two centuries.

            Possible topics to be discussed include:

  • The changing dynamics of the Russian-Kurdish relation in military encounters since the mid-19th century, integrating local conflicts and imperial power struggles,
  • Techniques of insurgency and counterinsurgency, and their transformations in the wake of imperial collapse,
  • The geopolitical use of Kurdish political and military forces by Russia and the Soviet Union from the 19th to the late 20th century,
  • The interplay of police and military factors, logics and actors in the construction of a new border order framing Russian-Kurdish relations,
  • Routes, forms and techniques of political and military influence (including both people and goods, notably weapons),
  • Transnational political, diplomatic and military circulations.

            Travel to and accommodation in Moscow will be taken in charge by the organizers. Administrative help for visa issues will be provided to successful applicants who would need it.

            Proposals consisting of a resume and a short proposal (one-two pages, summarizing the paper, methodology and sources) should be sent before 1 January 2019 to etienne.peyrat@sciencespo-lille.eu. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of January 2019.

Proposals may be submitted in English, French, Russian, Turkish or Kurdish. The working languages of the event will be English and Russian. 

Contact and inquiries: etienne.peyrat@sciencespo-lille.eu


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