Representation of the Personality and Character of the Kurds by Orientalists: A Study on Rich’s ‘Narrative of a Residence in Kurdistan’

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Social Sciences, Sanandaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sanandaj, Iran

2 Young Researchers and Elites Club, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


One of the important ways of studying of the personality and character of ethnics, nations and cultures is mainly accomplished via the opinions others formed about them. Since the onset of modernity, the West has been always a major other that explored every corner of the world. Along with colonial domination, the West has always tried to study and fathom other cultures in order to establish its domination and hegemony in every respect. Hence, the Kurds, like other Eastern cultures and important cultural groups in the Middle East, have always been the focus of the oriental studies. Accordingly, the present study attempts to investigate this issue and reveal the way the Kurds have been represented by orientalists. To achieve this goal, one of the earliest major texts i.e. “Narrative of a Residence in Kurdistan” has been studied. The result of this study indicates that in his travelogue Claudius James Rich applied a number of strategies including idealization, rituals of degradation, misrecognizing difference and exoticism. The Kurds were represented as a part of the Eastern culture compared to the Western culture and basically in stereotyped manners.