Chapter

The Minority Question: A View from History and the Kurdish Periphery

Janet Klein

in Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World

Published in print March 2014 | ISBN: 9780199675135
Published online April 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191753084 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675135.003.0002
The Minority Question: A View from History and the Kurdish Periphery

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This chapter explores discourses on minorities in the Arab world from a historical perspective and a view from the Kurdish “periphery” of certain Arab countries. It examines the construction of minorities in the late-Ottoman period, and how foreign intervention in the late-Ottoman and post-Ottoman periods of nation-building not only helped to construct certain groups as “minorities” but also fed the process through which these groups—having become “marked citizens” (to use Pandey’s term)—came to be branded as threats to the nation and national unity, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to play out today. In approaching the issue of minority rights now in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran, it is essential to understand this background so as to avoid cultural determinism, and to consider the power relations involved in the historical construction (and reconstruction) of minorities and majorities in the Arab world.

Keywords: minorities; foreign intervention; “marked citizens”; nation-building; Kurds; Ottoman Empire; Iraq; Syria; Turkey; Iran

Chapter.  12738 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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