Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Iqbal Akhtar

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Erik Larson

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Albert Wuaku

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Yezidism, Yazidi, Sinjar Massacre, Shingal Massacre, Ethnography, Iraq, Social and Cultural Anthropology

Date of Defense



Religion and religious ritual has been linked to providing individuals and entire communities with the ability to cope in the aftermath of life-changing traumas. This thesis explores the intersection of coping and ritual in the aftermath of the recent persecution of the Yezidi people. The methodology utilizes qualitative interviews and participant observation which was conducted in Ainkawa, Lalish and Bashiqa during fieldwork that took place in July 2017. A sample of 25 Yezidis who remain displaced in Northern Iraq were asked to describe their experience of coping in the aftermath of the Sinjar Massacre. I argue that the introduction of a baptismal ritual extended to adult women became a medium to reclaim identity. This allowed women who were abducted to symbolically re- declare themselves as Yezidi, cope with the trauma, reintegrate into the community and reclaim their identity through ritual, which presents healing in a framework that is largely relatable.



Available for download on Saturday, April 25, 2026



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