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The Nation of the Sur: The Yezidi Identity Between Modern and Ancient Myth

  • Artur Rodziewicz
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict book series (PSCHC)

Abstract

This chapter investigates the question of the Yezidis’ identity, based on Yezidi oral works and statements about their self-identification, as well as their classification of non-Yezidis belonging to ‘seventy-two nations’. It also demonstrates how the Yezidis have been perceived by others. It discusses two main Yezidi genetic myths, the stories of Shahid bin Jarr and Sultan Êzî, as well as motifs related to the Quraysh and Umayyad tradition. The analysis leads to the conclusion that for centuries this originally ethnically heterogeneous community did not express itself in nationalistic terms, but was founded on the mystical concepts of sunet and sur. This allows a perception of the Yezidis as the milet, possessing its own rich discourse of self-identification, going beyond categories originated in modern Western-grounded ideologies.

Notes

Funding

Work on this chapter was supported by the Polish National Science Centre, grant: 2016/20/S/HS1/00055.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Artur Rodziewicz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Iranian Studies, Institute of Oriental StudiesJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

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