Ethnonymes arabes (‘aǧam, ‘arab, badw, turk...) : le cas kurde comme paradigme des façons de penser la différence au Moyen Âge

Abstract : The use made of the word “Kurd” (Kurd, pl. Akrâd) in Arabic medieval sources is confusing. Most of the time it doesn't fit into our comtemporary social and “ethnic” categories. The Arab authors, wether they mention the Kurds in passing or insert them in a complex social and political theory, are transmitters and filters of specific conceptions of the difference. Through the centuries these conceptions evolved. Thus the image of the Kurds and the meaning of the term “Kurd” changed. The description of the historical stages and the analysis of the several contexts of meaning are at the very core of this study. Two stages seem to appear : the first from the 8th to the 11th century where the term « kurd » is systematically linked with the terms ‘arab, a‘rāb et ‘aǧam and where the alleged arab origin of the Kurds is always recalled; during the second stage from the 11th to the 14th century one can witness a diversification in the uttering of ethnic differences. We also undertake here the study of the second stage. Six main contexts of meaning : The two registers of iranity and arabity ; The “ḫaldūnian“ register of bedouinity ; The register of the hedges barbarians ; The geo-ethnic register of the Kurds attached to a specific territory (Bilād al-akrād, Zūzān) ; Lastly the ethnological register of the Kurd as the “Other” of the Turk within the military oligarchy.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 2:19:50 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 3:46:08 PM

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Boris James. Ethnonymes arabes (‘aǧam, ‘arab, badw, turk...) : le cas kurde comme paradigme des façons de penser la différence au Moyen Âge. Annales Islamologiques, Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, 2009, 42 (42), pp.93-127. ⟨halshs-00418984⟩

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