This article looks at clothing and more specifically headgear as a marker for the evolution of Kurdish national identity within the contexts of the late Ottoman Empire and of post-Ottoman Turkey and Syria. The Kurds’ integration into a mod-ernizing empire in the second half of the nineteenth century, the rising ethnic awareness among the Ottoman Kurdish elites since the late nineteenth century, and Kurdish nationalists’ aspirations for an independent Kurdistan since the end of World War I was reflected in the Kurdish elites’ changing preferences of clothing. The Kurdish elites’ take on the clothing also presented revealing evidence for wider debates on clothing and national identity in the late Ottoman Empire and its post-World War I successor states such as Turkey and Syria. This article aims to demonstrate that clothing as a marker of changing Kurdish identity can be fully understood in relation to the identity debates in the late Ottoman Empire, and to the nationalist discourses developed in Turkey under the Kemalist regime and Syria under the French mandate.


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pp. 157-187
Launched on MUSE
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