2009 Events

The following events were all sponsored or co-sponsored by TAARII.

MESA Panel: "Iraqi Heritage"

Date: November 23, 2009

Location: Marriott Copley Place, Boston, Massachusetts

Description: This panel, hosted by the Middle East Studies Association meetings, was organized and chaired by Magnus Bernhardsson, Williams College, and Peter Wien, University of Maryland, College Park. The participants were: Sinan Antoon, New York University; Donny George, State University of New York, Stonybrook; McGuire Gibson, University of Chicago; Hassan Mneimneh, American Enterprise Institute; and Orit Bashkin, University of Chicago.

This session served as an occasion to re-assess the topic of ownership of Iraqi heritage. Starting from a general assessment of the history and current state of Iraqi museums, archeology and artifacts, it expanded to broader issues related to national heritage and collective memory. Who defines what is Iraqi heritage? Are museums, ancient history, and archaeology still a crucial component for a shared Iraqi identity in spite of their exploitation under the Ba’thist regime? What role does the localization of heritage play in a “public history” context, especially with regards to conservation and protection? How is collective memory produced? What are the roles of education and libraries today after decades of manipulation of knowledge and social engineering? What kinds of memory and heritage are important, and how should they be promoted, either by the state or international actors? What is the role of oral history and collective memory in this debate? How can heritage and collective memory avoid or even heal the ruptures of sectarianism and parochialism? Is there a particular role for the Iraqi diaspora? What future role will the national museum have as Iraqis start the long and difficult process of rebuilding the country?

Additional Information: Please see “The Iraqi Constitution of 2006 and the Iraqi Law of Antiquities: Are They Honored and Respected in Iraq Now?” by Donny George in the Spring 2010 TAARII Newsletter, Issue 05-01.


“Memories of Iraq: A Discussion about the Foundations of the Iraqi State and Society in Public Memory”

Date: May 2, 2009

Location: University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Description: A conference entitled “Memories of Iraq: A Discussion about the Foundations of the Iraqi State and Society in Public Memory,” sponsored by TAARII, The College of Arts and Humanities, The Miller Center for Historical Studies, and The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies. Participants included Peter Sluglett, Magnus Bernhardsson, Eric Davis, Hamit Bozarslan, Orit Bashkin, Nadje Al-Ali, Geraldine Chatelard, and Elizabeth Thompson. The keynote speech was delivered by Dina Khoury.

Please see “Workshop on ‘Memories of Iraq’” by Peter Wien in the Fall 2009 TAARII Newsletter, Issue 04-02.

“Iraq: How the Past Shapes the Future”

Date: April 27, 2009

Location: Hofstra University

Description: Distinguished scholars shared their views on the making of modern Iraq and the ongoing occupation by American military forces in a panel discussion. Panelists included Dr. Orit Bashkin, Dr. Magnus Berhardsson, Dr. Eric Davis, Dr. Bassam Yousif, and Nida al-Ahmad. The panel is part of “Define ’09: New Challenges, New Solutions,” a year-long series that will examine the new presidential administration, its policies and initiatives, the challenges we currently face, and ways of addressing our country's most pressing issues.

Please see “The Making of Modern Iraq” by Daniel Martin Varisco in the Fall 2009 TAARII Newsletter, Issue 04-02, and Hofstra’s website: