The Mother, the Politician, and the Guerrilla intervenes in discussions on decolonialism and feminism by introducing the example of the Kurdish Women’s Freedom Movement. Üstündağ shows how the practices and the concepts of the movement contribute to debates on how the past, present, and future can be critically rethought in revolutionary ways.
In the movement’s images, figures, voices, bodies, and their reverberations Üstündağ elaborates a new political imagination that has emerged in Kurdistan through women’s acts and speech. This political imagination unfolds between flesh, body, voice, language. It is the result of Kurdish women’s desire to find new ways of being and becoming, between the necessary and the possible.
Focusing on the figures of the mother, the woman politician and woman guerilla, Üstündağ argues that the Kurdish Women’s Freedom Movement changes what politics consists of, including its matter, relationality, temporality, and spatiality. Although anchored in the specific Kurdish experiences, the book puts the movement into conversation with feminist political theory, psychoanalysis, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and Decolonial Studies. In solidarity with the Kurdish Movement’s tradition of resistance to History with a capital H that Kurds have built through reiterated performance, the book seeks to establish what new entanglements with wide-ranging thought the movement offers as a provocation for contemporary politics.
Introduction | 1 Part I: Mother 1. The Voice of the Maternal: Kurdish Mothers at the Intersection of Linguicide and Matricide | 25 2. Law(s) of the Maternal: Kurdish Mothers in Public | 47 Part II: Politician 3. Antigone as Kurdish Politician: Gendered Dwellings in the Limit between Freedom and Peace | 73 4. Kurdish Women Politicians at the Border between Body and Flesh | 100 Part III: Guerrilla 5. Who Are We and How Must We Live? Being a Friend in the Guerrilla Movement | 127 6. A Promise, a Letter, a Funeral, and a Wedding | 156 Conclusion | 173 Acknowledgments | 181 Notes | 183 Bibliography | 229 Index | 251
Nazan Üstündag˘ is an Independent Scholar. Between 2020 and 2023, she was a Patrimonies Program Fellow at the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Between 2005 and 2018, she worked as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Bog˘aziçi University, Turkey. She was subsequently an Academy in Exile and IIE- Scholar Rescue Fund Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien.