I will always be grateful for my TAARII Fellowship as I simply could not have visited the archives that I did and my dissertation would not be as multi-perspectival as it is. The TAARII Fellowship permitted me to travel to London to view the UK National Archives and then to Coventry to mine the archives of British Petroleum. After Britain, I went to the archives of the Quai D’Orsay and the Total Oil Company in Paris.
It is well known that the British played an important role in Iraq politically until 1958 and in oil until 1972, but the French influence in oil after the nationalization of the Petroleum Company (IPC) in 1972 is less understood. The archives of the Total Oil Company provide a wealth of information, particularly for the period from 1972 to 1980, and few American scholars have examined these sources. I would estimate that roughly 30-40% of the files are in French, but the remaining 60% are in English, since this was the language of interaction between the Iraqis and French on oil matters. Also, Total has all of the files for the IPC, which document the history of the company from 1934 to 1972. An even greater majority of these files are in English, probably 80%.
I would be more than happy to advise fellow TAARII fellowship winners or others who are interested in visiting these archives and look forward to hearing about your work related to the history of Iraq.
The University of Arkansas is home to the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies (http://uark.edu/rd_arsc/mest/4749.php), bringing together faculty and students from many different disciplines to explore the history, culture and politics of the Middle East. Through its endowment, the Center is able to fund faculty research, undergraduate and graduate training, as well as lectures, colloquia, symposiums, and translation projects.
In part through support of the Center, the University of Arkansas maintains active research and educational programs in the archaeology of Iraq and greater Mesopotamia. Dr. Jesse Casana (Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology) is currently the co-director of an archaeological field project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Upper Sirwan/Diyala Regional Project. In October 2012, he and colleagues Claudia Glatz (University of Glasgow) and Tevfik Emre Şerifoğlu (Bitlis Eren University) undertook a short reconnaissance of the region and signed a five-year agreement with antiquities officials to conduct archaeological survey and other investigations in a study area extending from Kalar to Darbandikhan. A second season in planned for May 2013, and several University of Arkansas students will participate.
The University of Arkansas’ Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (http://www.cast.uark.edu/), a global leader in geospatial research with a longstanding commitment to application of these technologies in archaeology, has also recently agreed to collaborate with the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) to provide training to Iraqi cultural heritage officials and students. Recent Arkansas graduate, Dr. Tuna Kalayci, will offer a two-week course on archaeological GIS at the IICAH in May 2013, and future course offerings are currently being planned.
In addition to its work in archaeology and cultural heritage, several University of Arkansas Ph.D. students in history are investigating topics pertaining to modern Iraq.
Baghdad: Cradle of Culture and Civilization, 1013-2013
Conference Co-Organized by the
Iraqi Cultural Center (ICC)
The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII)
November 15-16, 2013
The conference recognizes the designation of Baghdad as the Arab Capital of Culture for 2013. It includes Baghdad in 1013, for historical perspective. The first day of the conference will explore the politics and society of medieval and modern Baghdad. The second day will be devoted to the intellectual and cultural life in the city in the two time periods.
With the generous support of a TAARII Fellowship, I spent the autumn of 2005 copying and collating early Neo-Babylonian legal and administrative tablets in British collections. The vast majority of the tablets were housed in the British Museum, but I also spent time looking at tablets in the Ashmolean’s collection in Oxford and traveled to Edinburgh and Truro, Cornwall, to study additional tablets. The tablets dated from the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. and provided invaluable information about the social and economic history of Babylonia at a time when the Neo-Assyrian Empire was the dominant power in the Near East.
My primary interest was in tracing the activities of the urban elites in Babylonian society who controlled temple and civic offices as well as land. Many members of this class had begun using ancestral or occupational names as family names at this time and a corresponding interest of mine was the emergence of these family names. This research was critical to the completion of my dissertation, “Sons and Descendants: A Social History of Kin Groups and Family Names in the Early Neo-Babylonian Period, 747–626 B.C.,” which I then modified for publication in the Brill series Culture and History of the Ancient Near East.
My work reading and copying tablets was also essential for two of my articles (“Adbi’ilu: An Arab at Babylon [BM 78912]” in Antiguo Oriente 7 : 199–205, and “Three Early-Neo-Babylonian Tablets belonging to Bel-etir of the Misiraya Kin Group” in JCS 62 : 97–106) and will be featured in an article I’m currently working on that will feature the seven-tablet archive of a man named Nadinu and his son Labashi at Dilbat.
Iraq and the MECA Program at Hofstra University
In 2002, Hofstra created the Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies (MECA) program (http://www.hofstra.edu/Academics/Colleges/HCLAS/MECA/) to complement other area studies program on campus. This program currently offers undergraduate students a minor that includes a Middle Eastern Language, an introductory course to the region, and a variety of courses in anthropology, art history, economics, history, political science, and religion on the Middle East. The MECA program also sponsors invited speakers to campus. The founder and director is Daniel Martin Varisco (Anthropology). Participating faculty include Massoud Fazeli (Economics), Anna Feuerbach (Anthropology), David Kaufman (Religion), Mustapha Masrour (Comparative Languages and Literatures), Fatemeh Moghadam (Economics), Stephanie E. Nanes (Political Science), Aleksandr Naymark (Art History), Hussein Rashid (Religion), Mario Ruiz (History), and Irene Siegel (Comparative Languages and Literatures).
MECA has sponsored several speakers about Iraq to campus. In 2009, with joint sponsorship from TAARII, a panel on “Iraq: How the Past Shapes the Future” was held. The participants included Orit Bashkin (Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago and author of The Other Iraq: Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq), Magnus Bernhardsson (Professor of History at Williams College and author of Reclaiming a Plundered Past: Archaeology and Nation Building in Modern Iraq), Eric Davis (Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and author of Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq), Bassam Yousif (Professor of Economics at Indiana State University and author of Development and Political Violence in Iraq), and Nida al-Ahmad, Department of Political Science, the New School. For more information on this panel, please see “The Making of Modern Iraq,” in TAARII’s Fall Newsletter, Issue 04-02, available as a PDF on TAARII’s website (www.taarii.org/newsletters).
Hofstra University was founded in 1935 and is located in Hempstead, Long Island, 25 miles east of NYC. It is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational institution with Schools of Business, Communication, Education, Engineering and Applied Science, Health Sciences and Human Services, Law, Liberal Arts and a Medical School. Hofstra has 517 full-time (75% tenured) and 618 part-time faculty. The total fall 2012 enrollment was 11,090 (6,899 Undergraduate, 3,078 Graduate, 1,008 Law, 105 Medicine). About 3,800 students live on campus in 37 residence halls. The Hofstra libraries contain over 1 million volumes and provide 24/7 online access to more than 55,000 full-text journals and 70,000 electronic books.
As you know, I was a 2009 TAARII fellow with my project “Kirkuk, 1918–1968: Oil and the Politics of Identity in an Iraqi City.” I had started working on this project in 2007. The TAARII grant assisted me with a year’s worth of research in various libraries and archives in the United Kingdom from 2009 to 2010. I have since completed the Ph.D. dissertation for which I undertook this research, and I graduated from Harvard in 2012. In the meantime, I have published two articles based on this research. The first, “Group Identities, Oil, and the Local Political Domain in Kirkuk: A Historical Perspective” came out in the Journal of Urban History 38, no. 5 in 2012. The second, “The Politics and Ideology of Urban Development in Iraq’s Oil City: Kirkuk, 1946–58,” was just published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 33, no. 1, in Spring 2013.
Throughout this process of research and writing, I have developed and presented a more robust understanding of Kirkuk’s history than that which I proposed in my initial application for TAARII funding (as reported in the Spring 2009 TAARII Newsletter). Specifically, my research in the UK helped me locate the linkages between the Kirkuki oil industry and local identity politics — which, at the time, I said I would look into — in the relationship between oil, political institutions, and urban development. I have also come to understand that it is best to frame Kirkuk’s identity politics as a process of ethnicization of community interests that took place over the course of the twentieth century. I am now in the process of converting the dissertation into a book for publication, which I hope will bring my work to a wider audience.
The annual deadline for submission of applications to both the U.S. Fellows Program and the Iraq Fellows Program is December 15, 2013, for projects beginning as early as March 2014. Applications from U.S.-Iraqi collaborative teams are welcome on a ROLLING basis.
For additional information, please visit the TAARII website. To submit a collaborative proposal, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Middle East Studies Association is hosting its 47th Annual Meeting in New Orleans from October 10–13, 2013. Please note that this year’s meeting is six weeks earlier than normal!
The following are a list of papers to be presented at MESA this year that have Iraq-related content. For more information on the presenters or the abstract of the papers, please click on the provided links. This list also includes the papers from the TAARII-sponsored panel, Minorities, Identities and the Modern Iraqi State (Saturday, October 12, 5:00 p.m.). However, it does not include the presentations from the TAARII-sponsored roundtable discussion, Researching Iraq Today: Archives, Oral Histories, and Ethnographies (Saturday, October 12 11:00 a.m.).
Papers & Presenters
Al-Sahib Ibn ‘Abbad’s Politics and Ethics of Insult by Samuel T. England (Saturday, 10/12/13 2:30pm)
Al-Zawra’ and the East: Locating Baghdad Through the Pages of Its First Newspaper by Annie Greene (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
Allegory and History in Ikhwan Al-Safa’s Reading of Biblical Narrative by Shatha Almutawa (Friday, 10/11/13 11:00am)
An Ottoman Vision for Mesopotamia: Developing Iraq Before the Great War by Dale Stahl (Friday, 10/11/13 8:30am)
Assyrian Identity Formation and the Ba’qubah Refugee Camp by Fadi Dawood (Saturday, 10/12/13 5:00pm)
At the Threshold of the Sacred: Nineteenth Century Persian Narratives of Pilgrimage to Najaf by Rose Aslan (Friday, 10/11/13 11:00am)
Ba’athist Frontier Ideology: Analyzing the Deportation of Iranian Nationals from Iraq, 1971-72 by Carl Shook (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
Ba’thist “Generosity” and The Assyrian Literary Movement by Alda Benjamen (Saturday, 10/12/13 5:00pm)
“Education for Real Life”: Psychology, Islam, and Adolescent Normalization in Hashimite Iraq by Sara Pursley (Sunday, 10/13/13 1:30pm)
Frontier Cities and the Pacification of Nomadic Tribes: Late Ottoman Kirkuk as a Test Case by Idan Barir (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
Governing Iraq: The Impact of State Institutional Design on Ethno-Religious Fragmentation by Shamiran Mako (Sunday, 10/13/13 11:00am)
Human Welfare, War and Sanctions in Iraq under Saddam Hussein by Lisa Blaydes (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
Iraqi Kurdish Intellectuals and the Kemalism: Admiration and Dismay by Djene Bajalan (Friday, 10/11/13 4:30pm)
Managing dissent and building neo-liberal hegemony: the case of post-invasion Iraq by Yousef Baker (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
Modern Art and the Arab Awakening: Eros as a Figure of Vitality in the Painting of Jawad Salim by Saleem Al-Bahloly (Saturday, 10/12/13 5:00pm)
Muhammad Muhammad Sadiq Al-Sadr versus the Hawza: An Intra-Shi‘i Zero-Sum Game or a False Dichotomy? by Robert J. Riggs (Saturday, 10/12/13 2:30pm)
Old and new allegiances: Baghdadi Jews in leftist circles by Aline Schlaepfer (Friday, 10/11/13 11:00am)
Political Modernity and Iraqi National Identification: Literary Perspectives by Sami D. Zubaida (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
Reinterpreting the Abbasid Reception of Jarir and Al-Farazdaq’s “Naqa’id” by Cory Jorgensen (Saturday, 10/12/13 2:30pm)
Revolution or Elections? Land Reform and Regime Type in Comparative Perspective by Matthew Goldman (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
Tapping Sources: the maraji’ and their Followers in Pakistan by Simon Wolfgang Fuchs (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
The Death of the Artist? Ambiguity and “Openness” in Muhammad Khudayyir’s Fiction by Chip Rossetti (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
The End of Authority: Reconciling Approaches to the Occultation of the Twelfth Imam by Jennifer Gordon (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
The Euphrates as an Ottoman Frontier River: the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries by Faisal Husain (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)
The Iraqi Shi‘a and the Question of Sectarianism under Saddam by Samuel Helfont (Saturday, 10/12/13 5:00pm)
The Notables of Baghdad and the Limits of Sultanic Authority in 8th/14th Century Iraq by Patrick Wing (Thursday, 10/10/13 5:30pm)
The Organizing Concept of “khirqa” in the Tiryaq al-muhibbin of Taqi al-Din al-Wasiti (d. 744/1343) by Erik S. Ohlander (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
Tribes ‘Made in Taiwan’: Reinvented Identities in Authoritarian Iraq by Julia Choucair Vizoso (Saturday, 10/12/13 5:00pm)
Urban Violence and the Rebirth of the Arab Jew, Baghdad and Tel Aviv by Orit Bashkin (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
What is the Future of Iraq – Sectarianism or Democracy? by Davis, Eric (Sunday, 10/13/13 1:30am)
Women and the State: a comparative study of Iraq in the 1970s with Morocco in the 1980s by Priya Rahmouni (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)
For more information, please visit MESA’s website.
TAARII is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a reception at the Middle East Studies Association 47th Annual Meeting, which will be held in New Orleans from October 10–13, 2013.
What: TAARII Reception at MESA
When: Saturday, October 10, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Where: Gallier A/B, 4th Floor, Sheraton New Orleans