Kurdish Alevism: A Peculiar Ethno-Cultural Identity at the Crossroad of Multiple Ethno-Politics
Open INREL lecture with Dr. Ahmet Kerim Gültekin, Phillip Schwartz Fellow, Leipzig University, DFG Kolleg-Forschergruppe "Multiple Secularities - Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities"
In Turkey, discussions which are mainly focused on the concept of ethnicity continue to maintain their utmost importance in daily social life. In this context, Alevi (as a religious) and Kurdish (as an ethnic) identities have come to the fore with mass representation during national crises marked by violence. The overlapping ethno-political struggles of ethnic and religious identities in Turkey, mainly the Alevis and the Kurds, have consequently produced quite fascinating intersected cultural as well as political borderlines between Alevism and Kurdishness. At this point, Kurdish Alevis were, so to say, re-discovered on the crossroad of both ethno-political movements. Thus, the mass politicization of ethnic and religious identities in Turkey during the 1990s has had a crucial impact on the rising popularity of Kurdish Alevi identity. Consequently, the unique ethnic features of Kurdish Alevi communities have increasingly gained academic as well as intellectual popularity in recent decades.
Despite Alevism and Kurdishness being popular topics in international academic circles since the 1990s, Kurdish Alevism remained less known until the turn of the century. This lecture, first, aims to reveal insights to Kurdish Alevi ethnic identity by providing a comprehensive historical, sociological, anthropological and politic framework. Second, I want to draw attention to the relations between Kurdish Alevis and the Turkish state for a better understanding of re-production processes of Kurdish Alevi identity in contemporary Turkey as well as in Europe. Also, the role of violence, concerning the formation of modern Kurdish Alevi identity will be evaluated.
For more background information, see the attached pdf of the introduction to the anthology Kurdish Alevis and the Case of Dersim: Historical and Contemporary Insights (2019) by Erdal Gezik and Ahmet Kerim Gültekin, and take a look at this webpage.
The lecture is organised by the research group "Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks" (INREL).