[P4833] Schooling in Iraq: Modernity and Education in Iraqi Memory

Created by Thomas Thompson
Monday, 11/20/17 3:30pm


Historically, Iraq's educational system has largely been a reflection of the desires and vision of, first, the Ottoman Empire, and later the Hashemite Kingdom to shape the political and cultural atmosphere of the nation. This panel takes up stories that lay outside and beyond the official narratives of education in Iraq during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to provide a fuller picture of how Iraqis went about dealing with the changes inherent to the country's encounter with modernity. Collectively, the papers on this panel seek to extend the metaphor of education in Iraq. By taking the roads less travelled in terms of education, the panelists aim to provide new ways of understanding how Iraqis conceived of their own educational paths. The papers conceptualize education in the broadest possible way and as a fluid process taking place both inside and outside of the classroom in population centers and on the margins. To do so, we look at the many networks, groups, and institutions that facilitated alternative and often much less authoritarian ideals of education than those found in official state and imperial narratives.
Using the development of informal networks of poets at the Baghdad Teachers College; an investigation of school yearbooks and student essays from Baghdad College; and an analysis of the friction between tradition and modernity in the political awakening of Najafi poets as case studies, we argue for the need to recognize the multiplicity educational forms that played a role in the lives of young Iraqis. As Baghdad's population more than tripled during the first half of the twentieth century, Iraqis of all stripes made their way there to take advantage of new educational opportunities and employment prospects. The city was a place where students, poets, and teachers came together inside as well as outside the classroom, and similar changes in social relationships occurred in the Iraqi provinces as well. The panelists give voice to Iraqis who were both products and producers of new educational methods that were part and parcel of the institution of modernity in the nineteenth and twentieth century. By looking to how individual Iraqis conceived of their own involvement in imperial and national educational programs as well as how they supplemented or even supplanted them through informal networks of exchange, "Schooling in Iraq: Modernity and Education in Iraqi Memory" explores the possibility of alternative narratives of education and modernity in Iraq.


The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII)


Educ; Hist; Lit




Emily Drumsta

(Brown University)
Emily Drumsta is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Arabic at Brown University.
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Qussay Al-Attabi

(Kenyon College)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Thomas Thompson

(Brown University)
Levi Thompson is the Artemis A.W. and Martha Joukowsky Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender Studies at the Pembroke Center at Brown University and a member of the Pembroke Seminar “Cultures of Pacifism” (2017-2018). He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Kevin Jones

(University of Georgia)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Pelle Valentin Olsen

(University of Chicago)
Pelle Valentin Olsen is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. He works on Iraqi cultural and literary history
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;