This article addresses the question of what epistemic spaces women can occupy to produce truths other than that at the limit between life and death occupied by Antigone, a figure of truth widely celebrated in feminism and beyond. It reflects in particular on the mother, the woman politician, and the woman guerilla, figures who have emerged during the Kurdish struggle against repression and colonization by the Turkish state. The article argues that while the figure of the mother occupies the limit between the sacred and sacrilege, the woman politician occupies the limit between the legal and illegal, and the woman guerilla, the limit between the past and future. The truths of these figures reveal the impossibilities of living under colonial, patriarchal, and repressive conditions and unleash a force that challenges the boundaries instituted on speech, law, and politics by liberal democracies and state sovereignties. The Turkish state, this article argues, wages a war against these truths by attacking women and destroying the limits that they have carved for themselves during their struggle.
Mother, Politician, and Guerilla: The Emergence of a New Political Imagination in Kurdistan through Women’s Bodies and Speech
nazan üstündağ has been an Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund and Academic in Exile joint fellow at Transregionale Studien in Berlin since March 2018. Her writing concerns the state and violence, feminist theory, and theories of decolonization. Her most recent publications have appeared in the journals South Atlantic Quarterly and History of the Present.
Nazan Üstündağ; Mother, Politician, and Guerilla: The Emergence of a New Political Imagination in Kurdistan through Women’s Bodies and Speech. differences 1 September 2019; 30 (2): 115–145. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-7736077
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