There is a growing literature on gender and feminist theory in the Middle East now. However, there has been little work on Kurdish diasporas and gender in the United States. This article examines how US diasporic Kurdish performances of gender and narrations of gender work to create the figure of the “Kurdish woman.” Instead of falling into the trap of Orientalist constructions of womanhood, Kurdish diasporas imagine “Kurdish woman” as a way to challenge nation-state assimilation projects and erasure by practicing identity at the intersections of ethnicity, religion, gender, and race. The category of “woman” becomes an important venue to manage statelessness, create an important archive for Kurds, challenge ongoing colonialism in Kurdistan, and challenge US imperialism. Therefore “Kurdish woman” constitutes an important spatial and historical terrain for Kurdish women and Kurdish men to manage their racialization across national contexts and partake in the racialization of “others.” “Woman” is activated in the service of difference as a means to showcase the heterogeneity within Kurdish communities and expound on the relations Kurds in the US diaspora have with nation, religion, history, and resistance.

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