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An emergent national identity has far reaching effects which are challenging to isolate. In this video, SHÉHÉRAZADE ELYAZIDI analyzes the interplay between family law reform and the Kurdish-Iraqi national identity. Employing Liah Greenfeld’s theories on national identity as well as process tracing and data triangulation, Elyazidi focuses on how a Kurdish norm of gender equality impacted the 2008 reform of Iraq’s Personal Status Law (1959). The research suggests that though its practical effects were limited, the Kurdish norm of gender equality did find expression in the 2008 reforms. Further research will look to underline the multiplicity of Kurdish identity which is generally not appreciated in the West.


Shéhérazade Elyazidi is a Research Associate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg where she works on the project ‘Family Law in Syria and Iraq’. Her research focus is on Kurdish Iraqi Family law. Prior to this, Elyazidi completed her Bachelor (BA) in Political Science and Islamic Studies and her Master (M.A.) (2016) in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Heidelberg. From October to December of 2021, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Cambridge Family Law Center at the University of Cambridge.


Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Different countries, different cultures – and usually also a different basis for legal systems. The development of the European single market, the global integration of multinational business and commercial companies as well as the increasing internationalisation of our daily lives require that areas of private and commercial law provide solutions that cannot only be derived from the legal systems of individual countries. Academics at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg apply analysis of the differences and similarities between different legal systems to develop a foundation for an international understanding of law and its application to cross-border circumstances. This also includes addressing the methodological issues of comparative law and unification of law. The central research tool of the Institute is its library, which contains one of the world’s most extensive collections of literature on civil law. ( Source )
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Original publication

(forthcoming) Building a Nation: The Effect of the Kurdish Iraqi Collective National Identity on the Reform of the Doctrine of Desobidence

Elyazidi Shéhérazade
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