[P3312] Through the City's Prism: Cultures and the Politics of Resistance in Modern Iraq
Created by Dina Rizk Khoury
Sunday, 10/13/13 8:30am
SUMMARY:Defined by specific political and cultural locations, the study 20th century Iraqi cities allows us a window into the complexity of Iraqi history that often works against the narrative of that history as a perpetual struggle between state and society, nation and sect, individual citizen and tribe/community. Our panel brings together four scholars who take the culture and politics of urbanism as the point of departure for the exploration of two themes in Iraqi history: that of resistance and accommodation. By focusing on three key urban intellectuals, all makers of Iraqi modern subjectivity, one of the panelists argues that Najaf and Baghdad set the parameter that continue to shape the two poles of contention in Iraqi history; that of national citizenship and that of sectarian belonging. Two papers focus on the period of the monarchy when modern forms of contentious politics helped bring together the diverse population of the cities of Baghdad and Kirkuk in confrontation with the state and with British owned Iraq Petroleum Company. In one case, the Iraqi Jewish Communists carried their Baghdadi politics with them to Israel, in another the class and ethnic solidarities were integrated into working class organizations in a complex layering of both local and national politics. The last paper examines the problematic of resistance in the city of Basra in face of two kinds of violence, that of the state and that of violence generated by the Iran-Iraq war. The diversity of Iraqi cities as public spaces and spheres of political contention constitute different vantage point to explore the multitude manifestations of the role of their individual histories in the making of Iraq's national politics and cultures.
The panel is part of a number of panels and thematic conversations organized to honor and celebrate the work and mentorship of Peter Sluglett.