The description is submitted to:


Session C5030 (Usurpation: The Untold Stories of the Iraq War 2003-Present), 2017
When talking about the war, the American presidents devoted part of their formal speeches and press conferences to address the Iraqi people directly. Through their talks, they conveyed their understanding of the social and political scenes of Iraq and framed their goals and reasons for the invasion. Additionally, one of the main topics that occupied a considerable space in presidential talks as well as media discourse--Arabic and Western alike—is relations among Iraq different sectors, with the one between Sunni and Shia receiving the bulk of attention. Although, Iraq historically is known for its ethnic and religious diversity, killing by identity settled as the new horrifying reality of Iraq post 2003. My presentation will explore the evolution of various narratives about the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, relying on an analysis of the socio-anthropological and linguistic aspects of how a sample of Iraq refugees in California frame their experiences and perceptions before and after immigration to the United States. My project asks compelling questions pertaining to identity-construction as well as the formation and transformation of the social norms and mundane practices of these Iraqi immigrants in dynamic interaction with three main contexts: 1) the narrative evolution of formal American policy and presidential discourses since 2003; 2) the mainstream American and Arabic media discourses; 3) the vicissitudes of the “then” and “now” of Iraqi immigrants’ lives. As such, my research will shed insight into the following areas. First, it will address the larger context of how Iraqi immigrants’ perceive their own social interactions, practices, and identities before and after the war. Second, it will show how immigrants narratively assess, adopt and reproduce, and/or reject the various American mainstream and presidential narratives of the reasons for the war and occupation. Third, it will examine if and how they incorporate and reproduce the sectarian, religious, and ethnic cleavages and tensions that emerged in the wake of the American invasion and that were instituted via the Constitution of 2005 (written by Noah Feltman) and subsequently enforced by the practices of succeeding Iraqi power-holders.