In this paper we provide an analysis of Kurdish women’s organizing in the diaspora, highlighting the tension between “homeland” and “host-land” nationalisms, patriarchy, and feminism. This is the first feminist-transnational study of the experience of Kurdish women participating in a modern nation-building process in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in the period of 1991–2003. The study is based on fieldwork among Kurdish women in Canada, Britain, Sweden, and Iraqi Kurdistan. We have analyzed the activities of four women’s organizations in the diaspora and have traced the impact of these organizations on the events and politics unfolding in the region. We have also observed and documented the impact of homeland politics on these diaspora organizations, paying special attention to the gendered influence exerted by Kurdish political parties. The theoretical contributions of this paper are twofold: One, we argue that diaspora should be understood as a historical rather than only a cultural phenomenon. Second, diaspora and transnationalism are both historical and political categories of social organization which involve a complex of national, international, and transnational political-economic relations.

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