The Kurdish ­ people are a large ethnic group that lives in mountainous regions of several countries spanning southwest Asia, from Turkey to Iran and beyond the Caucasus Mountains, making up a cross-­border region known as Kurdistan. Since the creation of nation-­states in the region ­ after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have faced discrimination and persecution, gave up their mostly nomadic lifestyle, and began fighting for basic ­human rights. All too often, the only knowl- edge we have of this homogenous yet diverse group is one darkened by vio­lence and conflict, ­whether they are battling ISIS, fighting for control in Syria, or ­were gassed by Saddam Hussein. However, even ­today the Kurds remain hopeful to be recognized as a distinct culture living in a sovereign country. Who are the Kurds, and why have they been forced to strug­gle with a national identity and home for so long? The Kurds: An Encyclopedia of Life, Culture, and Society is a timely reference to further our understanding of the Kurds and Kurdistan. It also fills a notable gap in the lit­er­a­ture about the ­Middle East where multiple compilations describe the diverse ­people, cultures, and identity groups, such as Muslims, ­women, Arabs, po­liti­cal systems, and minorities, but few focus on the largest ethnic stateless minor- ity, the Kurds. By examining all aspects of Kurdish life in several countries as well as in the diaspora, this encyclopedia provides reliable, up-­to-­date, and nonsensation- alist references for the generally interested and open-­minded readership. ­ These references are compiled by a team of international scholars and researchers including many Kurds with broad experience in the topics discussed in this volume, includ- ing historians, geographers, anthropologists, po­liti­cal scientists, linguists, and artists. The content of the encyclopedia includes three main parts. The first approaches Kurdish life through a number of thematic essays with emphasis on the history, geography, social organ­ization culture, and po­liti­cal situation. Following ­ these top- ics are country-­specific entries profiling the Kurdish population in Kurdistan, the area that is split among Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Trans-­Caucasus region, as well as in the global diaspora. Special attention is given to local con­temporary issues the Kurds face in ­ these countries. The third part surveys a diverse list of primary document excerpts where experts analyze the sources and their relevance to the Kurds throughout history and in the vari­ous areas of settlement. ­ These doc- uments include popu­lar poems, works of lit­er­a­ture, religious texts, po­liti­cal mani- fests, and speeches, as well as legislation and other laws. Sidebars, a glossary of the most common Kurdish words, and a selected bibliography ­ will round out the text. A note on transliteration from Kurdish (and other ­ Middle Eastern languages) and a chronology of Kurdish history are also incorporated in the book. Preface
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