Monthly Archives: February 2014

Newsletter Update!

Are you a TAARII member? If so, you have probably been expecting your fall newsletter, issue 08-02. However, to better reflect TAARII’s activities and sponsored events, the newsletter schedule has changed. Instead of the fall issue hitting mailboxes in the same fall, the issue will reflect the activities from the fall. Therefore, the fall 2013 newsletter will be in mailboxes in early spring 2014 and will report on all of the conferences, activities, and other events of fall 2013. The spring newsletter will similarly shift; it will be in members’ mailboxes by early fall and will reflect activities of the spring. As always, our newsletters will also contain contributions from current/former fellows and others working to further the field of Iraqi/Mesopotamian studies.

If you would like to contribute to the TAARII newsletter (and we hope you will), please take note of the new submission deadlines:

The deadline for submission to the spring newsletters is APRIL 1 of each year.

The deadline for submission to the fall newsletters is NOVEMBER 1 of each year.

To submit an article to the newsletter (or to the blog!), please email To get more information about becoming a TAARII member in order to receive hard copies of the newsletter, email

To view PDFs of previous newsletters, visit our website.

Our Institutional Members: University of Washington

The University of Washington has offered Middle East language and area courses for more than 100 years. With over sixty faculty members conducting research and teaching on the Middle East, the institution has broad and deep coverage of Middle East languages and area studies. In addition to the modern languages of the Middle East, the University offers courses in ancient Middle East languages including Akkadian and Aramaic. Middle East coursework ranges across the departments of Anthropology, Art History, Communications, Comparative Religion, Economics, English, Ethnomusicology, Geography, Global Health, History, Information, International Studies, Jewish Studies, Law, Linguistics, Music, Near East Languages and Civilization, Oceanography, Political Science, Sociology, Social Work, and Women Studies. The University of Washington offers area-specific Middle East degree programs as follows: (1) BA and MA degrees in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization; (2) undergraduate minor and MA degree in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; (3) Ph.D. degree in the Interdisciplinary Near and Middle East Program; and (4) Middle East-focused BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees in disciplinary departments.

Prominent among University of Washington faculty who work on Iraq are:

  • Walter G. Andrews, Research Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, and Director of the Svoboda Diaries Project
  • Arbella Bet-Shlimon, Assistant Professor, Department of History, a specialist in the history of twentieth-century Iraq. She currently has a book in progress on city of Kirkuk since World War I.
  • Terri De Young, Associate Professor of Modern Arabic Literature, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, a specialist in the modern poetry of Iraq and author of Placing the Poet: Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab and Postcolonial Iraq
  • Joel Walker, Associate Professor, Department of History, a specialist in the late antique Middle East and author of The Legend of Mar Qardagh: Narrative and Christian Heroism in Late Antique Iraq

Recent graduate student research on Iraq has included work on such diverse topics as: state responses to Iraqi refugees; Muqtada al Sadr and the competition for power in Iraq; Turkish foreign policy and the Iraq war; social networks in nineteenth-century Iraq; and disease and medicine in Iraq.

Fellow Update: Dina Khoury (2007 & 2008 US TAARII Fellow)

TAARII funded two research trips to Jordan (2007) and Syria (2009) to conduct interviews with Iraqi veterans of the Iran-Iraq and the First Gulf wars. These interviews formed part of the research for my book, Iraq in Wartime, Soldiering, Martyrdom and Remembrance (Cambridge University Press, 2013). In Amman, TAARII’s Senior Research Fellow, Lucine Taminian, was very helpful in providing contacts and facilitating my research. TAARII runs the Iraqi Oral History Project, which aims at collecting the testimonies of Iraqis who have lived through the momentous events of the twentieth century. Lucine plays an important part in that project and she was ready with advice as to what to expect. The interviews I conducted were crucial for the argument I made in the book and in giving me an understanding of the centrality of the Iraq-Iran War in shaping the sensibility of a whole generation in Iraq. It also allowed me to understand the impact of violence on the lives of Iraqis in a manner that would have been difficult to comprehend had I not had a chance to conduct these interviews. Please check this link for more on the book and a sample interview:

Fellow Update: Amy Gansell (2012 US TAARII Fellow)

On March 6, 2013, Amy Gansell gave a lecture entitled, “Concepts of Feminine Beauty and Adornment in Ancient Mesopotamia Illuminated through Near Eastern Cultural Practices of the Twentieth-century to the Present,” for the Department of Social Science & Cultural Studies at the Pratt Institute. Professor Gansell was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Pratt’s History of Art and Design department. Her talk showed images of her project on queenly adornment. A video of her lecture is available here.