Call for contributions: Kurdistan and Survival of a Nation

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Mar 5 19:43:16 UTC 2007

Kurdistan and Survival of a Nation: From Genocide to Rights. Language,
Education and Identity

Amir Hassanpour, Jaffer Sheyholislami, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas & Khaled Salih
(eds.). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Series Linguistic Diversity and
Language Rights [in preparation].
Book (Approximately 300 pages) and CD

This will be the first book of sociolinguistic studies of the Kurdish
language. One of the top languages of the world in terms of the number of
speakers, Kurdish is among the most repressed. The speech community is
divided among five neighbouring countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey,
Armenia), and dispersed in a vast diaspora throughout the world.  While
linguistic studies of Kurdish date back to the eighteenth century, there
is a dearth of research on the social, cultural, political, legal and
economic components of the language.

Even though we are more or less strict on the distinction between
linguistics and sociolinguistics, our vision of the social dimension is
broad. Thus, a study of the lexicography of Kurdish is treated as outside
the scope of the book, while studies of the politics or political economy
of dictionary writing, or the politics of alphabet reform are within the
scope of the project, and so are gender dimensions of dictionaries. Since
we hope to publish the book in the series Linguistic Diversity and
Language Rights, Kurdish language policy, planning and language contact,
as well as diversities within Kurdish and issues of language rights should
be central for the project.

There are no restrictions on theoretical and methodological frameworks;
this will be an interdisciplinary and multi-method creation of a body of
knowledge about the language.

Book: Research Articles (topics open)

- History, general description and sociopolitical analyses of Kurdistan,
	all from a language point of view
- Kurdish speech varieties, Kurdish cultures, Kurdish identities
- Educational (and other) linguistic human rights of Kurds
- Sociolinguistics challenges, solutions and future scenarios for Kurds
	and Kurdistan
- Nationalism, gender relations, internal and international politics,
	distribution of resources, main educational, linguistic and political
	challenges, problems and suggested solutions for Kurds and Kurdistan, all
	from a language point of view: diversity of possible linguistic futures.
- Question of dialects, Kurdish language(s); standardization; alphabet
	divide; orality and literacy, new technologies of language, scribal and
	print languages; journalism; television Kurdish, media Kurdish, Internet
	Kurdish; academic and intellectual Kurdish; prose and poetry; terminology;
	translation; language and gender, Kurdish as the language of
	administration; language and education; literary Kurdish; styles and
- Diaspora Kurdish(es); borrowing; the purist movement; language planning;
	violence against Kurdish, e.g., linguicide and linguistic historicide and
	other forms of repression; censorship; language loss and viability; music
	and language; class and language; religion and language; rural and urban
- Contact with non-official languages (e.g., neo-Aramaic, Syriac,
	and Armenian) and state/official languages (Arabic, Turkish, and Persian);
	bilingualism and multilingualism;
- Questions of history: any aspect of the history of Kurdish which does
	not focus on the structure of the language;

CD: Primary Sources
(Press reports, archival material, legislation, Statistics.)

Access to primary sources is quite difficult. This project will contribute
to the sociolinguistic study of Kurdish by making primary sources
available. We invite you to submit/suggest any source, which touches on
the sociolinguistic life of the Kurds. Here are some examples:

1. Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian, Western and other media reports on the Kurdish
language (e.g., reports about the struggle over Kurdish language rights in
2. Archival material (diplomatic correspondence, etc)
3. Relevant pieces from the Kurdish press
4. Selection of relevant parts of conventions, constitutions, congresses,
laws (e.g. Local Languages Law of 1932 in Iraq), etc.
5. Cartoons, maps
6. Chronologies, statistics

Please send your proposed title and one-page abstract to all four editors
at the latest by 30 April 2007. If accepted, you are expected to send the
first draft of the article to the editors by the end of December 2007.


Amir Hassanpour
Dept. of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
4 Bancroft Ave, Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 1C1
amirhp at

Jaffer Sheyholislami
School of Linguistics & Applied Language Studies, Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Dr., Room # 215 PA
Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada
jaffer_sheyholislami at

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas
Roskilde University, Dept of Languages and Culture,
Roskilde, Denmark, and
bo Akademi University, Dept of Education, Vasa, Finland
skutnabbkangas at
Home page: http//

Khaled Salih Kurdish Regional Government (Iraq)  salih at

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