Kurdish Women's Democratic Experiment in Post-Conflict Northern Syria

Name of applicant

Mustafa Kemal Topal


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs at the University of Central Florida, United states of America


DKK 865,000



Type of grant

Internationalisation Fellowships


The aim of this project is to explore the impact of Kurdish women's participation in the fight for their nation's liberation, on themselves and on their societal position in post-conflict northern Syria (Kurdish: Rojava). The project seeks to understand how women's resistance and their pursuit of freedom is carried out in general post-conflict contexts. In this analysis, it will be interesting to enquire what ideals and thoughts motivate Kurdish women in the post-conflict period in their attempt to become active participants in political and societal activities and in creating a democratic form of government.


The project intends to contribute to knowledge regarding whether new perceptions of gender can gain ground in the wake of societal upheaval, how political conflicts affect gender, and how political mobilisation and gender interact in a post-conflict context. On a worldwide basis, the Kurdish democratic experiment in Rojava is unique in that women's participation in militant liberation struggles never before has resulted in radical, structural change for women in the societies that followed. Thereby, this project about women in Rojava has the opportunity to create knowledge about how women engage in political and social activities and how this impacts on upheavals in society and specifically in everyday life in post-conflict periods when non-state actors fight for autonomy or independence.


The project will be based on interviews and observation. These studies are chosen to generate insights into the political and social activities of the women involved and into their intra-actions with various contexts. Data collection will extend over two years and will involve three field trips to Rojava, each of two months' duration. Those trips will allow me to compare the women's selfrepresentation and activities over time. I can identify processual changes with effects on their identifications in their self-understanding, organisational strategies, policy processing, the collective and material-discursive factors that prompt their involvement in the democratic struggle, and how in practice they implement their ideals of women's liberation in the post-conflict period.

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