The Best Article Award in Kurdish Political Studies
This award recognizes the best article in Kurdish Political Studies by a rising scholar during the previous calendar year. In this year’s competition, social science and humanities articles published in English language peer-reviewed journals in 2016 were considered. The winning scholar is awarded $500. The selection committee was composed of Sabri Ateş (Southern Methodist University), Hakan Özoğlu (University of Central Florida), Güneş Murat Tezcür (University of Central Florida), and Nicole Watts (San Francisco State University).
The First Prize Winner
Kelda Jamison, “Hefty dictionaries in incomprehensible tongues: commensurating code and language community in Turkey,” Anthropological Quarterly 89 (2016): 31-62.
Erlend Paasche, “The role of corruption in reintegration: experiences of Iraqi Kurds upon return from Europe,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42 (2016): 1076-93.
Metin Yüksel, “On the borders of the Turkish and Iranian nation-States: The story of Ferzende and Besra,” Middle Eastern Studies 52 (2016): 656-76.
From a large and impressive pool of high quality articles, the committee has unanimously awarded the first prize to Kelda Jamison’s “Hefty dictionaries in incomprehensible tongues: commensurating code and language community in Turkey” published in Anthropological Quarterly. Jamison offers a nuanced and counterintuitive analysis of the unanticipated consequences of the recent revival of Kurdish language in Turkey. As eloquently described by Jamison, the Kurdish political project pursues aims to establish equivalence, a process of commensuration, between: (a) spoken and textual Kurdish, (b) “Kurdish” and “Turkish” as primary codes of language communities, and (c) “Kurds” and “Turks” as members of these communities. Ironically, Kurdish language texts often remain unread as most able native speakers tend to lack formal schooling and strong literacy skills. In fact, the increased formality and codification of Kurdish language in public speeches, textual spaces such as billboards and municipal pamphlets, and printed sources makes many of these native speakers anxious about their ability to “properly” use and speak the “correct” forms of language. Despite this absence of a Kurdish-reading public, however, a standard Kurdish has become widespread in many different aspects of daily life (such as using the words Q, X, and W that are present in Latinized Kurdish but absent in Turkish). It also develops a sense of allegiance among the broader public and contribution to the formation of an alternative language community challenging the linguistic hegemony of Turkish. Jamison’s extended and rich ethnographic study in Diyarbakır, İstanbul, and Ankara captures these not-so-obvious frictions and uncertainties inherent to this project and their lasting sociopolitical implications.
The committee also awards honorable mentions to Erlend Paasche’s “The role of corruption in reintegration: experiences of Iraqi Kurds upon return from Europe,” published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Metin Yüksel’s “On the borders of Turkish and Iranian nation-states: the story of Ferzende and Besra,” published in Middle Eastern Studies.
The committee commends Paasche for a courageous and rigorous analysis of such an important and challenging topic. Through his careful analysis of returnee experiences of corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan, Paasche makes an important and timely contribution to the fields of both migration and Kurdish Studies, finding that corruption challenges reintegration as well as complicating the Kurdish nation- and state-building projects on both a political and economic level. The committee congratulates Yüksel for his innovative analysis of modern Iranian and Turkish nations and states as they relate to the Kurdish statelessness. Yüksel masterfully fuses a wide selection of Turkish and Iranian sources with the underutilized Kurdish oral tradition to show the agency of the Kurds in the making of their own history. It is an important contribution that opens up new vistas in Kurdish historiography.
2014-5 Competition Winners
The First Prize Winner
Wendelmoet Hamelink and Hanifi Barış, “Dengbêjs on borderlands: Borders and the state as seen through the eyes of Kurdish singer-poets,” Kurdish Studies 2 (2014): 34-60.
The Second Prize Winner
Harun Yilmaz, “The Rise of Red Kurdistan,” Iranian Studies 47 (2014): 799-822.
Dr. Najmaldin Karim Fellowship in Kurdish Political Studies
The Kurdish Political Studies Program (KPSP) sponsors the Dr. Najmaldin Karim Fellowship for undergraduate students at UCF. The fellow is provided a research space conducive to educational and professional development and conduct a research project related to Kurdish politics, broadly defined, under the supervision of KPSP faculty in every spring semester. This research has the aim of producing a final paper that is worthy of publication. It aims to enrich the fellow’s academic credentials, providing a unique opportunity to gain in-depth insights about Kurdish politics through independent research. The fellow will receive $500 for the semester. All financial aid rules and regulations apply.
The applications for Spring 2019 will be accepted in Fall 2018.
Current and Previous Fellows
Margaret Morgan – Spring 2018
Kellan Ritter – Spring 2017