The Kurdish territory of Rojava in Syria has become a watchword for radical democracy, communalism and gender equality. But while Western radicals continue to project their own values onto the revolution, the complexities of the situation are often overlooked or misunderstood.
Based on over 17 years of research and fieldwork, Thomas Schmidinger provides a detailed introduction to the history and political situation in Rojava. Outlining the history of the Kurds in Syria from the late Ottoman Empire until the Syrian civil war, he describes the developments in Rojava since 2011: the protests against the regime, the establishment of a Kurdish para-state, the conflicts between the parties about the administration of the Kurdish territory and how the PYD and its People's Councils rule the territory.
The book draws on interviews with political leaders of different parties, civil society activists, artists, fighters and religious leaders in order to paint an complex picture of the historical conflict and the contemporary situation.
Thomas Schmidinger is a Political Scientist and Cultural Anthropologist based at the University of Vienna. He is Secretary General of the Austrian Association for Kurdish studies. He is the author of Rojava (Pluto, 2018), which received the Mezlum Bagok award. He has written extensively on Kurdistan, Sudan, Kosovo, jihadism, migration and Muslim communities in Europa.
Acknowledgements Preface to the English Edition Preface to the 4th Edition Preface to the 3rd Edition 1. The Long Struggle for Autonomy 2. Background and Methods of Social Science Research in War 3. Kurds, Arabs, Armenians and Assyrians: Rojava as Part of the Ethnic Diversity of Syria 4. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Alevi and Ezidi: Religious Pluralism in Rojava 5. Kurdistan: Country without a State or Country against the State 6. Syrian Kurdistan under the French Protectorate 7. Kurds in Independent Syria 8. In the Crosshairs of Pan-Arabism: From the United Arab Republic to Ba'athism 9. Special Census and Statelessness 10. The Kurds under Ba'athist Rule 11. Between Two Brief Springs: Rojava under Bashar al-Assad 12. The Kurdish Party Scene 13. From Revolution to Civil War 14. Military Developments Since 2012 15. Political Economy in the Civil War 16. The Kurdish Districts of Aleppo 17. The Kurdish Para-State in Rojava 18. Voices from Rojava 19. Conclusion: Rojava, Quo Vadis? Bibliography Index