Peers Say Olson Displays Lifetime Achievements
By Gail Hairston
Robert Olson’s “The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s: Its Impact on Turkey and the Middle East” (University Press of Kentucky, 1996) was reissued recently by Mazda Publishers.
A University of Kentucky distinguished emeritus professor of history, Olson wrote a new five-page introduction about the current status of the Kurdish question in Middle East politics for the new volume. He also published “Turkish Air Force’s Role in the Development of Turkish and Kurdish Nationalism” (Kürt Tarih) in March 2016.
Olson gave the plenary talk “Fifth Years with the Kurds” at the Kurdish Studies Association meeting in Denver in November 2015. For his career-spanning interest in the peoples of the Middle East, Olson was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award in Recognition of Exceptional Contribution to the Field of Kurdish Studies.”
Olson and his colleague, Michael Gunter of Tennessee Technical University, are the principal co-founders of Kurdish studies in the United States, said Olson. The two professors authored 22 books, 10 edited books, 275 scholarly articles and 390 book reviews. Of these, Olson authored 10 books, edited four, published 106 scholarly articles, 60 essays and 240 book reviews.
Until the publication was shut down by the Turkish government in March 2016, Olson was an op-ed writer for Today’s Zaman, an English-language newspaper published in Istanbul, Turkey, and widely read in Europe and throughout the Middle East. He also writes for LobLog, which is edited by Jim Lobe and John Feffer and deals with critical issues concerning U.S. foreign policy.
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