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Title: Views of history and society in Yezidi oral tradition.
Author: Allison, Christine
ISNI:       0000 0001 2135 0139
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1996
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The Yezidis are a Kurdish-speaking religious minority living mainly in Northern Iraq. In the past their religion forbade literacy: thus their accounts of their history and their descriptions of their society ha ve been preserved orally. This thesis considers how the Yezidis use oral literature. or verbal art. to represent themselves and their past. It is based largely on fieldwork carried out in Northern Iraq. The theoretical perspective of this work combines elements of both literary and social studies by considering both text and social context. The genre of a tradition has major implications for its content; three genres considered in detail are lyrical song. prose narrative and extemporised lament. Yezidi discourse about the past stresses their distinctive identity and their endurance against adversity and persecution. This is reflected in the oral traditions. especially in the lyrical song. which is performed at festivals and is extremely popular; prose narratives of events predating the immediate past. on the other hand. are in decline. Most love songs and stories feature historical figures; the performance of lyrical love songs. many of which depict conflict between the wishes of the individual and the rules of a society where marriage is arranged. provides an outlet for the audience's own emotions. Laments are performed by women. Using traditional imagery. they are a vehicle for the expression of a variety of emotions by the performer. Their performance is a social duty and is likely to remain so. The texts included in this work comprise variants of two historical themes. Feriq Pa~a and DawLide Dawtid; variants of a theme of love, Derwe~e C E.,di. and examples of women's lament. both semi-professional and personal. Some of these were transcribed from material collected during fieldwork; all were translated for this thesis. An appendix lists performers and informants.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Iraq; Kurdish-speaking Anthropology Folklore History