The late scientist Dr. Carl Sagan said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
This is especially true when it comes to understanding tensions in the Middle East.
Dr. Djene Bajalan, assistant professor of history at Missouri State, offers insights into the Middle East by studying the region’s history. He explores how Kurdish political activism developed within the Ottoman Empire before World War I.
Filling a gap in history
“For a long time, this has been a neglected area of study in the Middle Eastern studies field,” Bajalan said.
He says neglect of the Kurdish experience in the Middle East and the limited access to information are to blame. It is also because the Kurds do not have their own nation state.
“I’m part of a new wave of scholars studying various areas of Kurdish history,” Bajalan said. “One of the most exciting things about my research is every single document I come across is something no one’s written about. Even if people have seen it, they’ve not included it in their work.”
Through his research, Bajalan aims to highlight how and why identity and politics intersect.