Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Joel Gordon

Committee Member

Richard Sonn

Second Committee Member

Nikolay Antov

Keywords

Social sciences; Communication and the arts; 20th century; Journalism; Kurds; Lebanon; Middle East history; Nationalism; Press; Syria

Abstract

This dissertation looks at the activities of the Kurdish nationalists from Turkey who were exiled in Syria and Lebanon during the period of the French mandate, and especially Jaladet and Kamuran Bedirkhan. Scions of a princely Kurdish family from the Botan region in Eastern Anatolia, the Bedirkhan brothers initiated a Kurdish cultural movement in exile following the failure of two armed rebellions against the new Turkish Republic in 1925 and 1930. Central to this cultural movement was the publication of journals in Damascus and Beirut, namely Hawar (1932-1943) Ronahi (1942-1945), Roja Nu/Le Jour Nouveau (1943-1946), and Ster (1943-1945).

This study critically analyzes these Kurdish periodicals and other publications from Syria and Lebanon in the 1930s and 1940s to understand how exiled Kurdish nationalists imagined a new Kurdish identity in the Middle East following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the nation states. Kurdish journals became the platform for a vibrant discussion about the future of the Kurds across the region. They also became the vehicle for the formalization and spread of a national language as well as the construction of a new identity, rooted in tradition but also with the aim of creating new Kurdish men and women.