and CULTURAL STUDIES SPEAKER SERIES
ORAL POETS in CONFLICT LISTENING to VEYSEL, RESO and SAKIRO
APRIL 8, 2019 16:00-17:30
Abstract: This paper examines the works of one Turkish and two Kurdish minstrels from Turkey, who narrate two historical moments of armed conflict between the Kurds and the newly-founded Turkish and Iranian nation-states. While the Turkish oral poet Veysel composed a eulogy on the Turkish Republic and its founder Mustafa Kemal, Kurdish oral poets Reso and Şakiro have two oral poetic performances about Sheikh Said, Khalid Beg Cibrî and Ferzende who were the Kurdish leaders of the 1925 Sheikh Said and 1927-1930 Mount Ararat Revolts, respectively. Oral traditions can be essential sources for anthropologists, folklorists, and historians in the investigation of political and historical consciousness. The paper demonstrates that Turkish and Kurdish oral poetry represent past events in politically charged ways, communicating a range of popular political stances. This work also brings together oral poetry with a wide range of written records, such as archival documents, memoirs, short stories and written poetry. In addition, it also offers a perspective from the Kurdish margins on how nation-state borders were drawn in the post-World War I Middle East.
Metin Yüksel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2011. Recently he has been focusing on the 20th-century social and cultural history of Iran. His articles and book reviews have appeared in English, Turkish and Kurdish-language edited volumes and journals, such as the International Journal of Turkish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, The Muslim World, Iranian Studies, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Patterns of Prejudice, Orta Doğu Etütleri and Derwaze. His 9-hour long oral history project with Professor Celîlê Celîl and his ethnomusicologist sister Cemîla Celîl was published in 2014 by Avesta Publisher in Istanbul. His modern Turkish transliteration of an Ottoman-Turkish book (Edirne Sukûtunun İç Yüzü) and three short works (Bobi’nin Hatası) by Celadet and Kamiran Bedirkhan appeared in 2009 and 2011.