The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University is part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, the oldest school of international affairs in the United States. The Center has established itself as the most comprehensive university-based Arab studies program in the country, offering teaching, scholarship, public events, research, publications, and outreach to the community. The Center’s Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program is distinguished by its emphasis on study of the contemporary Arab world and its rigorous Arabic language training, and alumni have distinguished themselves in key areas of economy, culture, and government around the world.
One of CCAS’s faculty, Joseph Sassoon, currently offers a graduate-level course on the modern history of Iraq for MAAS students. The course is designed to provide students with the basic structure of Iraq’s political and socio-economic history from World War I to the present day through readings drawn from some of the most important books and articles written in English. The class examines the main political parties of that period (the Iraqi Communist party and the Ba‘th party), as well as the various sectarian and tribal communities of Iraq and their interaction with elites. The course also considers the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its implications. Examples of student papers (which typically run between 25–30 pages) include research on Ba‘thist economic policy, Nazi Germany and Iraq, Iraqi women since the 2003 invasion, and the trial of Saddam Hussein.
CCAS also has extensive library holdings on Iraq in Arabic, English, French, German, and Spanish. All periods of Islamic history are represented, though the main focus of the collection is on the contemporary Arab world. In addition, there are considerable holdings on the cultural, economic, linguistic, and political aspects of Iraq.