Abstract

This article explores the complex and intersectional identities and positionalities of Kurdish Islamist women activists in Turkey in the context of heightened violence and tensions linked to the ongoing Turkish-Kurdish conflict. While both female Islamist activists and Kurdish activists in Turkey and the wider region have been subject to in-depth research over the past decade, Kurdish Islamist women have largely been overlooked in the literature. The article focuses on the complex relationship between ethnicity and religion in understanding Kurdish Islamist women’s mobilization, political views, perceptions of gender norms and relations, and self-ascribed identities. Based on original empirical research carried out in southeastern Turkey in 2015 and 2018, the article engages with the relevant literature on Islamist women’s mobilization, particularly in relation to Turkey, to complicate discourses of empowerment and critiques of liberal notions of agency while also challenging prevailing depictions of Kurdish women’s mobilization. It pays attention both to the intersecting power configurations enabling and challenging Kurdish Islamist women’s everyday lives and political engagement, and to changing political economy locally, nationally, and transnationally.

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