Category Archives: Conferences

Former TAARII Iraq Fellow Participates in World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) in August 2014

Faris Nadhmi*

I participated in the Fourth World Congress for Middle East Studies (WOCMES) held at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, August 18–22, 2014. The congress was organized by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and the Graduate Program of Middle East Studies at METU, in collaboration with the Turkish Social Sciences Association.

The entrance of the Culture and Convention Center (CCC) of the Middle East Technical University (METU) - Ankara, where WOCMES 2014 was held (Photo credit: Faris Nadhmi, 2014)

The entrance of the Culture and Convention Center (CCC) of the Middle East Technical University (METU) – Ankara, where WOCMES 2014 was held (Photo credit: Faris Nadhmi, 2014)

After the highly successful experiences of the three previous WOCMES meetings held in Mainz, Germany, in 2002, Amman, Jordan, in 2006, and Barcelona, Spain, in 2010, WOCMES Ankara brought this unique event to the Eastern Mediterranean region.

WOCMES 2014 was attended by a remarkable number of very distinguished academics, policymakers, and researchers, who represented a wide variety of universities and institutions from 74 countries. The scientific program of the Congress, with its 400 academic sessions, meetings, exhibits, roundtables, and poster presentations, was impressive. It was designed to facilitate exchange and strengthen networking among more than 1,500 experts from all branches of the humanities, social sciences and related disciplines, and from all over the world.

Samir Amin giving the WOCMES keynote speech on the “Implosion of the Neoliberal Globalization and Its Effects on the Middle East Regions” (Photo credit: Faris Nadhmi, 2014)

Samir Amin giving the WOCMES keynote speech on the “Implosion of the Neoliberal Globalization and Its Effects on the Middle East Regions” (Photo credit: Faris Nadhmi, 2014)

The main disciplines at the congress were: Anthropology, Archeology, Architecture, Economics, Education, Fine Arts, Gender Studies Geography, History, International Relations, Journalism, Labor Studies, Law and Legal Studies, Literature and Linguistics, Environmental Studies, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Social Psychology, and Sociology.

Topics covered in the academic presentations focused on: Ancient Middle East, Islam in the Past and Present, Christian and Biblical Studies, Urban Studies and Space, Water and the Environment, Economics and Politics, Women and Gender Studies, Normative Phenomena and Legal Research, Migration Studies, Media and Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Literature, Nationality, and Identities and Ethnicity.

On August 20, 2014, I participated in the panel, “Iraq: Human Costs of Occupation,” which was organized by the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES) in cooperation with the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS). Two other scholars joined me in the panel: Dr. Mundher Al-Adhami (Iraq) and Dirk Adriaensens (Belgium), as well as the moderator Prof. Raymond Baker (USA). My presentation was titled: “The Power of Political Islamization in Iraq, the Case of Ending the Civil State: Psycho-Political Perspective.”

The panel on “Iraq: Human Costs of Occupation,” organized by the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES) in cooperation with the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS). From right to left: Dr. Faris Nadhmi (Iraq), Dirk Adriaensens (Belgium), moderator Prof. Raymond Baker, and Dr. Mundher Al- Adhami (Iraq). (Photo credit: Bie Kentane, Belgium, 2014)

The panel on “Iraq: Human Costs of Occupation,” organized by the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES) in cooperation with the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS). From right to left: Dr. Faris Nadhmi (Iraq), Dirk Adriaensens (Belgium), moderator Prof. Raymond Baker, and Dr. Mundher Al- Adhami (Iraq). (Photo credit: Bie Kentane, Belgium, 2014)

In my presentation, I argued that The American Coalition Provisional Authority helped leaders of religious groups and parties to dominate the political scene. Since the occupation of Iraq in 2003, Islamic political parties have been trying to reproduce the state and society in accordance with their sectarian views. Their attempts to Islamize Iraqi society go against the deep-rooted secularist trends that had dominated the public life since the establishment of the nation-state in the 1920s. Based on my six years of research on political Islam, I concluded that the psychological basis of political Islam includes: a phobia of freedoms; hostility to beauty; denial of the basic facts of human nature; women’s complex (women’s erotic nature and their inferiority to men); a wish to impose ignorance on society; a glorification of the past and fear of the future; an instinctive trend toward money, power, and sex; and hatred of national identity. These undeclared motives of political Islam that dominate public life in Iraq have produced a number of negative social phenomena, including: fighting the social secularist trends in Iraq; spreading false religiosity; immortalization of hostage society; strengthening the masochistic trend in Iraqi mentality; undermining the Baghdadi identity; academic corruption in the Iraqi universities; targeting and terrorizing of minorities; and Green Zone psychology.

Faris Nadhmi introducing his presentation, “The Power of Political Islamization in Iraq, the Case of Ending the Civil State: Psycho-Political Perspective,” within the session titled “Iraq: Human Costs of Occupation.” (Photo credit: Bie Kentane, Belgium, 2014)

Faris Nadhmi introducing his presentation, “The Power of Political Islamization in Iraq, the Case of Ending the Civil State: Psycho-Political Perspective,” within the session titled “Iraq: Human Costs of Occupation.” (Photo credit: Bie Kentane, Belgium, 2014)

The issues that my presentation raised focused on: my research methodology, the role of The American Coalition Provisional Authority in providing the opportunity for political Islam to dominate public life, and whether the psychological basis of political Islam I listed above can be generalized to political Islam in other countries in the Middle East.

WOCMES 2014 was a real and genuine opportunity for me to update my viewpoints regarding the issues and crises of the Middle East from multiple academic perspectives. It gave me the chance to build networks with many scholars from several countries. Such an academic event is a true occasion to strengthen the values of peace and tolerance, as long as the hundreds of participants can contribute to shaping their countries’ policies towards the Middle East.

Joint Meeting of the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES) and the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS) (Photo credit: Bie Kentane, Belgium, 2014)

Joint Meeting of the International Association of Middle Eastern Studies (IAMES) and the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (IACIS) (Photo credit: Bie Kentane, Belgium, 2014)

Thanks so much to TAARII for giving me the chance to participate in WOCMES 2014. This support helped me to present a theoretical paper regarding the relation between political Islam and society in Iraq, as well as to attend numerous sessions and meetings of the Congress.

Several WOCMES participants in the Culture and Convention Center (CCC) of the Middle East Technical University (METU)-Ankara. From right to left: Dr. Faris Nadhmi (Iraq), Dr. Yasmine Jawad (Iraq),  and Dr. Gamal Selim (Egypt) (Photo credit: Faris Nadhmi, 2014)

Several WOCMES participants in the Culture and Convention Center (CCC) of the Middle East Technical University (METU)-Ankara. From right to left: Dr. Faris Nadhmi (Iraq), Dr. Yasmine Jawad (Iraq), and Dr. Gamal Selim (Egypt) (Photo credit: Faris Nadhmi, 2014)

Faris Nadhmi, Ph.D., Social Psychology. Nadhmi is a writer, researcher, and lecturer in political, social, and personality psychology at Baghdad University, Salahaddin University-Erbil. He can be contacted by email: fariskonadhmi@hotmail.com

TAARII Resident Director Participates in Oral History Workshop in Tunisia

In May 2014, TAARII’s Resident Director, Lucine Taminian, who oversees TAARII’s Iraqi Oral History Project, participated in the Memory and Action Workshop in Tunisia organized by the Coalition of Sites of Conscience. The Coalition is a global network of more than 185 institutions, including museums and memorial sites (old prisons, mass killing sites, sites of torture, etc.), which promotes the use of oral history to connect memory to action. The workshop was organized in partnership with the Tunisian Site of Conscience, the Association for Justice and Rehabilitation, and the Mediterranean Forum for Memory. It was attended by representatives of non-governmental organizations from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and South East Asia. Doudou Diene, from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Ereshnee Naidu, from the Coalition, also attended the workshop. Shirley Gunn, the executive director of Human Rights Media Center, South Africa, led the workshop sessions on oral history.

The opening session of the Memory and Action workshop in Tunisia, headed by the Tunisian Minster of Transitional Justice (second from right). Seen to his left are Doudou Diene from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ereshnee Naidu from the Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Shirley Gunn, executive director of Human Rights Media Center, South Africa.

The opening session of the Memory and Action workshop in Tunisia, headed by the Tunisian Minster of Transitional Justice (second from right). Seen to his left are Doudou Diene from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ereshnee Naidu from the Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Shirley Gunn, executive director of Human Rights Media Center, South Africa.

The first two days of the workshop were devoted to discussing the need to document memory in conflict and post-conflict situations, the ethics of documentation, and ways to move from documentation to action. Participants hotly debated the following issues: whose memory should be documented, the selective and changing nature of memory, and the possibility of falsifying/neutralizing memory. Participants agreed that individuals are affected by their surroundings; thus, what is remembered changes through time and space, and what is considered a violation today may not be seen as such in the future. They noted that the media turn memory into a spectacle, such as cowboy movies, and reduce it to the bare bones. Participants also asked: In the process of moving from memory to action, and in turning individual narratives, which usually do not fit together, into collective memory, whose narratives prevail, and whose are overshadowed?

Workshop participants listen to the presentation of Doudou Diene (at center table, second from left) on oral history and human rights.

Workshop participants listen to the presentation of Doudou Diene (at center table, second from left) on oral history and human rights.

In the second part of the workshop, the participants presented their own activities, which use memory to change people’s consciousness. Projects included the Cambodian Youth for Peace Initiative, a community memory-based initiative that transformed the mass killing sites into centers for remembering and dialogue, where youth collect stories of elders and use the narratives to initiate dialogue. Another project, the Tea Plantation Workers Museum in Sri Lanka, uses oral history to enlighten the wider community about the lives of tea plantation workers, many of whom were migrant laborers from Tamil-speaking India. In addition, UMAM Documentation & Research of Lebanon collects, preserves, and publicly promotes narratives on the Lebanese civil war (1975–1990). Participants were interested in TAARII’s Iraqi Oral History Project and the guide that it produced with Columbia Center for Oral History Research.

Participants presented the activities of their centers during the second half of the Memory and Action workshop in Tunisia.

Participants presented the activities of their centers during the second half of the Memory and Action workshop in Tunisia.

Participants of the Memory and Action workshop visited downtown Tunis, the site of the demonstrations during the "Tunisian Spring."

Participants of the Memory and Action workshop visited downtown Tunis, the site of the demonstrations during the “Tunisian Spring.”

Workshop participants visited the headquarters of the previous ruling party, the basement of which was used as a prison. It is now a center for human rights. Shown here are Ereshnee Naidu (right), from the Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Shirley Gunn (left), from the Human Rights Media Center in South Africa.

Workshop participants visited the headquarters of the previous ruling party, the basement of which was used as a prison. It is now a center for human rights. Shown here are Ereshnee Naidu (right), from the Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Shirley Gunn (left), from the Human Rights Media Center in South Africa.

TAARII Joins CAORC Directors in Istanbul, Turkey

Directors from 22 of CAORC’s American overseas research centers met in Istanbul, Turkey for a three-day workshop. (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

Directors from 22 of CAORC’s American overseas research centers met in Istanbul, Turkey, for a three-day workshop (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

TAARII’s Executive Director, Beth Kangas, and Overseas Director, Lucine Taminian, joined directors of 21 other American overseas research centers and staff of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) for a three-day workshop in Istanbul, Turkey, April 5–8, 2014. The workshop provided the opportunity for directors to share ideas and experiences and to learn tips for fundraising and evaluating programs.

The CAORC workshop overlapped with the Fulbright Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) Directors meeting. TAARII enjoyed the chance to meet with Fulbright staff members of the US embassy in Baghdad to see how we might work together to promote interactions between American and Iraqi scholars.

For more information about CAORC, go to: www.caorc.org.

American overseas research center directors benefitted from sharing experiences and ideas at the Istanbul meeting. Shown here: Eric de Sena (left) of the American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS); Andrew McCarthy, Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI); Beth Kangas (TAARII); Lucine Taminian (TAARII); and Penny Mitchell (right), Palestinian American Research Center (PARC). (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

American overseas research center directors benefitted from sharing experiences and ideas at the Istanbul meeting. Shown here: Eric de Sena (left) of the American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS); Andrew McCarthy, Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI); Beth Kangas (TAARII); Lucine Taminian (TAARII); and Penny Mitchell (right), Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

TAARII’s Executive Director, Beth Kangas (right), and Overseas Director, Lucine Taminian (center), thank Monica Clark (left), CAORC program manager, for her assistance to TAARII over the years. Monica left CAORC on April 14 to begin a new position. (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

TAARII’s Executive Director, Beth Kangas (right), and Overseas Director, Lucine Taminian (center), thank Monica Clark (left), CAORC program manager, for her assistance to TAARII over the years. Monica left CAORC on April 14 to begin a new position (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

Lunches provided an opportunity for AORC directors to interact informally with each other and Fulbright Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) directors. Shown here: Beth Kangas (left) (TAARII); Karen Park (right), Global Projects Manager and ACLS Public Fellow with CAORC; Heidi Massaro, (second on left), Deputy Director of CAORC; Lucine Taminian (third on left) (TAARII); and Fulbright directors. (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

Lunches provided an opportunity for AORC directors to interact informally with each other and Fulbright Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) directors. Shown here: Beth Kangas (left) (TAARII); Karen Park (right), Global Projects Manager and ACLS Public Fellow with CAORC; Heidi Massaro (second on left), Deputy Director of CAORC; Lucine Taminian (third on left) (TAARII); and Fulbright directors (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

TAARII’s Overseas Director, Lucine Taminian, preparing to begin a cruise on the Bosporus on the final evening of the three-day workshop with directors of CAORC’s American overseas research centers. (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

TAARII’s Overseas Director, Lucine Taminian, preparing to begin a cruise on the Bosporus on the final evening of the three-day workshop with directors of CAORC’s American overseas research centers (Photo courtesy of Barbara A. Porter, ACOR)

Conference Review: Iraq 10 Years On: Intervention, Occupation, Withdrawal and Beyond

“Iraq 10 Years On: Intervention, Occupation, Withdrawal and Beyond”

Wael Elhabrouk and Benjamin Isakhan

To mark the tenth anniversary of the US-led war in Iraq, the Centre for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, hosted the symposium “Iraq 10 Years On: Intervention, Occupation, Withdrawal and Beyond” from 14–15 March 2013. The symposium was convened by Dr. Benjamin Isakhan and sponsored by the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, and the Australian Middle East Research Forum at Deakin University. The event provided a valuable opportunity to engage with diplomatic staff, politicians, academics, business leaders, policy-makers, Iraqi expatriates, media, and NGOs concerned with the Iraq War. As is detailed below, the two days of the symposium covered distinct aspects of the Iraq war with Day 1 focusing on Australia’s role in the war and Day 2 focused on the legacy of the war for Iraq today.

Day 1 – Australia’s Role in Iraq

Following an official welcome and introduction from Dr. Isakhan, the “Iraq 10 Years On” symposium got underway with a presentation from Her Excellency Ms. Lyndall Sachs, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq in Baghdad. Ms. Sachs gave some insightful comments on the developments in Australian-Iraqi relations following the fall of Saddam Hussein. She also talked about expected future co-operation between Australia and Iraq and her aim to see Australian-Iraqi relations strengthened over the coming decade. The Ambassador also reiterated the Australian government’s commitment to supporting Iraq’s national development and the country’s progress towards strengthening its democratic institutions.

Dr. Benjamin Isakhan welcomes the crowd in his introduction (Credit: Deakin University).

Dr. Benjamin Isakhan welcomes the crowd in his introduction (Credit: Deakin University).

Her Excellency Ms. Lyndall Sachs, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq in Baghdad addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Her Excellency Ms. Lyndall Sachs, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq in Baghdad addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

 

Following Ms. Sachs’ statement, the late morning presentations brought the themes of human rights, social justice, and national responsibility, with regard to the intervention in Iraq, to the fore. These presentations also tended to highlight Australia’s role in the Iraq War. For example, the infamous case of the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison was addressed by human rights and social justice advocate Ms. Aloysia Brooks (University of Sydney). During her presentation, Ms. Brooks argued that little has been publicised about the alleged involvement of Australian personnel in attempts to cover-up what happened in Abu Ghraib. She argued that evidence had emerged linking Australian personnel to attempts of hindering investigations conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The presentation constituted, through its topic, an exploration of the need for accountability and recognition of mistakes made during the occupation, particularly on Australia’s behalf.

Ms. Aloysia Brooks (University of Sydney) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Ms. Aloysia Brooks (University of Sydney) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Ms. Aloysia Brooks (University of Sydney) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Ms. Aloysia Brooks (University of Sydney) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

A highlight presentation on the first day of the conference was presented by Mr. Paul Barrat, President of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry and former Secretary of the Department of Defence and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Following the theme of Australia’s role in the Iraq War, Mr. Barrat’s presentation focused on the need for a better understanding of how and why the Australian government chose to back the U.S. in its invasion and later occupation of Iraq. Ten years after the Iraq War it is apparent that as a consequence of the Iraq War and its aftermath many of the countries that had been militarily engaged in Iraq are forced to reflect upon the mechanisms used to enable the war to happen in the first place. Such reflections are of course essential in order to apply past lessons to future scenarios involving military intervention abroad. Mr. Barrat’s objective is to shed light on the state of the decision-making process within the Australian government and to promote measures to help make this process more inclusive of the Australian public.

Day 2 – The Legacy of the Iraq War

The second day of the conference saw a change in focus with our distinguished international speakers addressing less the role of Australia in the war and more the current situation in Iraq. The day began with a keynote presentation by Professor Liam Anderson (Wright State University) on the contentious topic of Iraq’s constitutional gridlock and power-based politics. Professor Anderson drew on the issue of Kurdish autonomy as a key example of contentious political disputes in Iraq worsened by the absence of effective judicial authority and key institutions. The Kurds, who were instrumental in drafting Iraq’s 2005 constitution, are seeking a state where the federal government is weak relative to regional authorities. It is such a system, which Professor Anderson argues is depicted by the Iraqi constitution, that consequently places the management of oil and gas resources in the hands of regional governments. The issue, as noted in the presentation, is the fact that a significant number of Arab (Sunni and Shi’a) nationalists prefer “a unitary system of government with a strong central government, and national control over the exploitation of oil and gas reserves.” Consequently, Professor Anderson argues for the need for an Iraqi “constitutional settlement that respects Kurdish autonomy while facilitating Arab (Sunni/Shi’a) reconciliation.”

Professor Liam Anderson (Wright State University) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Liam Anderson (Wright State University) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Liam Anderson (Wright State University) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Liam Anderson (Wright State University) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

In the afternoon, three papers were presented by some of the most well-respected senior academics within the field of Arab and Middle East political studies, Professor Michael C. Hudson (Director, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore), Professor Peter Sluglett (MEI, NUS) and Professor Amin Saikal (Director, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University). In his address, Professor Hudson touched on both the history and future of Iraqi-U.S. relations. Professor Hudson’s paper laid the historical groundwork by reviewing American attempts at helping Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war and how this changed dramatically following Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. The presentation also addressed how neo-conservatism influenced the White House’s decision to seek regime change in Iraq following 9/11. Finally, Professor Hudson’s paper explored some of the questions which arose more recently with regard to the impact of the Iraq War: Did Bush’s “freedom agenda” inspire the eruption of the Arab Spring? Was Iran’s influence in the Persian Gulf strengthened by the U.S.’s intervention in Iraq? The presentation concluded with an argument from Professor Hudson asserting that the U.S.’s strategic blunder in Iraq cost it much influence both in the region and globally and only contributed to hastening its decline as a global superpower.

Professor Michael C. Hudson (National University of Singapore) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Michael C. Hudson (National University of Singapore) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Michael C. Hudson (National University of Singapore) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Michael C. Hudson (National University of Singapore) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Continuing with the theme of American miscalculations and strategic blunders when it comes to Iraq, Professor Sluglett explored the failure of U.S. policy towards Iraq. Professor Sluglett pointed out how misconceptions contributed to the development of inadequate U.S. policy towards Iraq both in the period “preceding and immediately following the invasion.” The presentation insightfully drew the attention of the audience to the realities of change that Iraqi society witnessed during Saddam Hussein’s final decade in power. The issue for the U.S. and its allies, argued Professor Sluglett, was that these changes were misconceived and misunderstood. Consequently, the U.S. and its allies, going into Iraq, were unaware of the overwhelming monopoly of ‘religious politics’ within Iraqi political discourse and interactions. Evidently, as Professor Sluglett noted, this caught many by surprise not least amongst them U.S. policy-makers as well as long-time Iraqi exiles who backed the invasion.

Finally, Professor Saikal, explored the chasm that exists between advocates of self-democratisation and proponents of induced democratisation. Professor Saikal rightly pointed out the strong support that exists for both views; does democratisation effectively succeed only when it is a product of “indigenous processes”? Or, is outside intervention (both military and otherwise) a valid, and possibly necessary, form of inducing democratisation in an authoritative state? Prof Saikal’s presentation evaluated the case of Iraq in the context of the aforementioned wider debate in order to shed light on where Iraq is located along the democratising spectrum and whether “interventionist democratisation has worked.”

Professor Amin Saikal (Australian National University) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Professor Amin Saikal (Australian National University) addressing the crowd (Credit: Deakin University).

Overall, the conference allowed a number of key figures in the field to address some pressing and contentious questions and debates surrounding the military intervention in Iraq and its aftermath. Inevitably however, many more questions were also raised throughout the course of the two-day long conference. Chief amongst those were: What is next for Iraq? And, what steps ought to be taken by both Iraqis and Western power to ensure Iraq’s development towards stability, unity, and democracy. Likely, only with time will such questions be conclusively addressed. Nonetheless, the conference provided a valuable opportunity for those interested in the events witnessed in Iraq over the past decade to engage with the experts and review the past while contemplating some of the possibilities for the future.

Conference: Baghdad: Cradle of Culture and Civilization, 1013-2013

Baghdad: Cradle of Culture and Civilization, 1013-2013

Conference Co-Organized by the

Iraqi Cultural Center (ICC)

and

The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII)

Washington, D.C.

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.

 

For more information, please contact Beth Kangas, Executive Director, TAARII, at 773-844-9658 or beth@taarii.org.

Papers on Iraq at MESA, October 10–13, 2013

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)

Challenging Sanctity: The Visitor’s Quandary at Two Kuwaiti Museums Dedicated to the Iraqi Invasion and Its Aftermath by Thomas P. DeGeorges (Saturday, 10/12/13 8:30am)

“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)

Iraqi Kurds Ascending by Mohammed M.A. Ahmed (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)

Kitab al-azilla, Nusayri Literature, and the Transmission of Texts Between Iraq and Syria in the Tenth Century by Mushegh Asatryan (Friday, 10/11/13 4:30pm)

Language, Revelation, and the Qur’an’s Ambiguous Verses in al-Sharif al-Radi’s (d.1015) “Shi‘i” Qur’an Commentary by Tehseen Thaver (Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am)

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)

Reading Hashemite Kirkuk as an urban and industrial landscape of power: violence and resistance in Iraq’s early oil industry by Nelida Fuccaro (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)

Shi’i-British Relations and the Creation of Iraq by Zackery Heern (Saturday, 10/12/13 2:30pm)

Tapping Sources: the maraji’ and their Followers in Pakistan by Simon Wolfgang Fuchs (Friday, 10/11/13 2:00pm)

“Ten Identities in a Land without an Identity”: Kurdish and Iraqi Identities in the Works of an Émigré Kurdish-Iraqi Poet by Hilla Peled-Shapira (Saturday, 10/12/13 5:00pm)

The Changing Face of Resistance in Wartime Basra by Khoury, Dina Rizk

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)

The Spatiality of the Occupation in Iraqi Fiction by Ikram Masmoudi (Friday, 10/11/13 8:30am)

The Usefulness of Digital Technology for the Study of Cultural Memory in the Medieval Middle East: A Case Study by Sarah Bowen Savant (Friday, 10/11/13 11:00am)

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 Reception at MESA 2013

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

For more information on this year’s MESA meeting, visit their website. Also, see our other posts on the TAARII-sponsored panel and the TAARII-sponsored roundtable discussion.

TAARII-sponsored Roundtable Discussion at MESA: Researching Iraq Today

TAARII is pleased to be sponsoring the following roundtable discussion at the Middle East Studies Association 47th Annual Meeting in New Orleans from October 10–13, 2013.

The roundtable, [R3406] Researching Iraq Today: Archives, Oral Histories, and Ethnographies, will take place on Saturday, October 12, at 11:00 a.m.

Summary

Iraq has weathered one of the longest periods of ongoing and active combat in its history over the last decade. Simultaneously, the country has witnessed a resurgence of historical, ethnographic, and politically engaged research by international scholars. Ten years after the American-led coalition invasion, the panelists on this interdisciplinary roundtable propose that it is time to discuss the methodologies, difficulties, and possibilities of conducting scholarly research on Iraq today.

This roundtable examines the potential for and limits of historical and ethnographic fieldwork on — and in — Iraq. Drawing from a range of historical and contemporary contexts that span environmental movements, political movements, media representations, and urban transformations, panelists will explore three fundamental questions. First, what kinds of historical, especially archival, research and ethnographic engagement can be sustained in Iraq today? Second, how do the successes and challenges of such qualitative research influence both the quality of original scholarship on Iraq and the integrity of knowledge about Iraq itself? Third, what role do archives outside of Iraq — such as colonial archives and oil-company papers — play in these processes?

To address these questions, the roundtable considers the conditions for ethnographic fieldwork under the Ba’th period and in the subsequent decade that followed the American-led invasion, as well as discussing the status of the Iraqi archives and underexplored human and archival sources outside of Iraq. Questioning potential connections between various fieldwork methodologies and the ongoing occupation of Iraq, we will explore how these politically problematic relationships and uncomfortable alignments come to be embraced, negotiated, or refused by the researcher. Collectively, we examine the historical and ethnographic tactics and approaches used to research Iraq in the midst of conflict and we consider how these innovative forms have, in turn, spurred disciplinary transformations in the conventions of qualitative research.

Participants

For more information, visit MESA’s website and the roundtable’s page

TAARII-sponsored MESA Panel: Minorities, Identities and the Modern Iraqi State

TAARII is pleased to be sponsoring the following panel at the Middle East Studies Association 47th Annual Meeting in New Orleans from October 10–13, 2013.

The panel, [P3266] Minorities, Identities and the Modern Iraqi State, will take place on Saturday, October 12, at 5:00 p.m.

Summary

Minorities have featured prominently in the debates surrounding the establishment of the modern Iraqi state. During the period between 1920–2003, colonial and local officials played an important and influential role in shaping the place of minorities within the social, political, and cultural institutions of the state. Various pieces of legislation and decrees were passed during the colonial and post-colonial periods that led to massive communalist struggles, tensions, and hostilities that defined the interactions between the state and minority communities well into the post-colonial period. Leaders of various minority populations were also involved in carving a place for their own communities within the social and political spaces of the modern Iraqi state. Minority identities were influenced greatly by both state and community based activities. Historians and social scientists have devoted a great deal of attention to the study of Iraq’s minority populations, however contextualizing the social and political histories of the various minority communities within the history of the modern Iraqi state is still lacking.

This panel will contextualize Iraq’s various minority communities within the social and political history of the modern state. This will help scholars to better understand the historical developments that led to the creation of Iraq’s multiple identities. In order to accomplish these goals this panel will highlight three minority communities: Assyrians, Kurds, and Shi’ites. Assyrians will be analyzed during the mandate and post mandate periods both as a refugee community and as citizens of a republic. Writings of communist Kurds will illuminate the relationship of this community with the Iraqi state. Finally, religious institutions of Shi’ites (a political minority) will be discussed in relation to the Ba’thist rule. The following questions will be addressed: How did the colonial and post-colonial Iraqi state influence the identity of minority populations? How did various minorities view themselves in the context of the newly created state? What role did the transnational nature of Iraq’s minority communities’ play in the way they perceived themselves within the social and political apparatuses of the state? What role did war and violence play in creating minority identities in Iraq?

Panelists & Papers

For more information, visit MESA’s website and the panel’s page