Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Art and activism in Iraqi Kurdistan: feminist fault lines, body politics and the struggle for space

Käser, Isabel and Mahmoud, Houzan (2023) Art and activism in Iraqi Kurdistan: feminist fault lines, body politics and the struggle for space. LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series (70). LSE Middle East Centre, London, UK.

[img] Text (Art and Activism in Iraqi Kurdistan) - Published Version
Download (1MB)
[img] Text (Art and Activism in Iraqi Kurdistan - Kurdish) - Published Version
Download (1MB)


In recent years, a new generation of young artists and women’s activists have emerged in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), who through their work and artistic production address issues around body politics, (religious) conservatism and intimacy. This paper analyses how women’s initiatives, youth activists and (feminist) artists develop alternative discourses and practices beyond prevailing party politics and regional rivalries in a post-ISIS KRI. The paper maps out and portrays the main actors behind these emerging dynamics and asks how social and political change is imagined and enacted amidst ongoing political, military, and economic crises in the region. Drawing on transnational and post-colonial feminist literature on gender, conflict, feminism and non-state nationalism, we contend that a young generation of artists and activists are tapping into a global conversation of justice and equality, and in doing so are demanding and creating new modes of engagement. However, due to the failings of the ‘would be’ state system of governance, the ongoing economic crisis, the impact of past wars and ongoing insecurities, their space for art and activism remains scarce and their reach is limited. Nevertheless, there are fragments of art, youth and women’s activism, spaces where visions of a more gender-equal Kurdistan free of violence are developed.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2023 10:27
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:31

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics