Beyond Orientalism: Exploring the Distinctive Feminism of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava


Shahvisi, Arianne. 2018. "Beyond Orientalism: Exploring the Distinctive Feminism of Democratic Confederalism in Rojava." Geopolitics: 1-25. doi: 10.1080/14650045.2018.1554564.

Author: Arianne Shahvisi


Women have been central to the revolution in Rojava, leading to widespread interest in the Kurdish women’s movement across Western contexts. Yet Western mass media representations of women combatants tend to be objectifying and superficial, glossing over the unique variety of feminism, known as “jineology,” that is core to the political system of Rojava, which operates according to the ideology of “democratic confederalism.” This paper is intended as a corrective to the inadequate representation of the theory and praxis of the women’s movement in Rojava. It approaches this task by: (a) critiquing the popular representation of women in Rojava, and (b) providing an overview of some of the features of the distinctive feminism that are in operation, with a focus on intersectionality, autonomous spaces, and combatting masculinity.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Media Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2018

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at