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Title: Kurds and Kurdistan in the view of British travellers in the nineteenth century
Author: Muhammad, Qadir Muhammad
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 8933
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is the first critical study of British travel writing on Kurdistan in the nineteenth century based upon travellers‟ accounts and unpublished reports of diplomats. The principal aim is to identify which aspects of Kurdish society and culture were highlighted by the British and to analyse what factors influenced British representations of the region and its people. The travellers‟ emphasis upon Kurdish culture and the Kurds‟ tribal culture, for example, is discussed in terms of contemporary interest in enlightenment sociology and the emergence of anthropology. A second key aim is to establish how far the British understood Kurds from their perspective on people in the East, whether they saw them as part of a homogeneous group of people, and the extent to which they recognised Kurds as culturally, socially, politically, and geographically. Finally, this thesis examines the importance of the Kurdish regions to the British imperial agenda. This research has made some important findings: firstly, it has confirmed that the British travellers were inclined to represent the Kurds as different from the other Muslim societies and therefore complicates our understanding of British views of the Ottoman and Persian empires in the nineteenth century. It shows that although the British depicted the Kurds as barbarous and quarrelsome, their accounts of Kurdistan did not fit a straightforward „Orientalist‟ model, particularly with regard to their observations on Kurdish women and the decline of the nomadic lifestyle. As nationalism was a common ideology throughout nineteenth-century Europe, a number of British travellers tried to depict Kurdish movements as nationalist activities; however, it is argued that these accounts should not be taken as straightforward evidence for the existence of nationalist sentiment. Finally, one of the key motives for British travel in the region was to further the imperial economic agenda by identifying potential markets and resources. British travellers had a significant impact on British policy makers, as the presence of oilfields which they had identified led the British to keep Kurdistan under its mandate after the First World War.
Supervisor: Sweet, Rosemary ; Moore, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available