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Department of Sociology

Dr Dirik Lecture

Dr. Dilar Dirik (University of Oxford)

Tuesday 8 Oct, 12:30-2pm, Lecture Room 2 (8 Mill Lane). Sandwiches will be provided from 12pm at the Sociology Department (16 Mill Lane, across the road).

This event is part of the 2019-20 Sociology Semiar Series.

Feminists have been at the forefront of exposing the links between systems of knowledge and power. There is a rich history of critiques of colonial knowledge production and its impact on the life worlds of those, who have been removed from the means of autonomous history-writing. Kurdish women have historically experienced several forms of violence and erasure. The struggle for epistemic justice is therefore at the heart of Kurdish women's struggle for self-determination.

Drawing on her ethnographic fieldwork as a Kurdish woman comparatively studying freedom concepts in Kurdistan and their relationship to women's ability to act politically, Dr Dirik will provide an overview of the ways in which emerging notions of modernity and development are imposing new identities and concepts on Kurdish society, which clash with indigenous conceptualizations of life, politics and justice. While "statist" forms of seeing society promote a neo-liberal NGO-ization of social issues based on Eurocentric assumptions over progress, modernity and development, the revolutionary Kurdish women’s movement, building on a radical democratic and ecological paradigm, is actively engaged in creating autonomous knowledge production as a form of militant self-defense against assimilation into capitalist modernity. Why do Kurdish women develop "Jineolojî" as a science of women and life? What objections does jineolojî raise against positivist social sciences? 

The lecture will also reflect on the following questions: What can we learn about power from the knowledge produced in the context of revolutionary struggles? Why must research on social movements be critical of positivism? And why is the decolonization of knowledge production a matter of life or death?

Dr Dilar Dirik is an alumna of the Cambridge Sociology PhD programme and is currently a Junior Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall and the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, where she teaches a course on "Statelessness: Politics, Knowledge and Resistance". She is also an activist of the Kurdish women’s movement and involved in developing relationships between women's struggles.


2019-20 Seminar Series