January 15, 2024

Methods Workshop with Prof Zainab Saleh – Memoirs as Platforms to Revisit the Past and Reimagine the Future| May 23 2024

Workshop Description

Most of the memoirs written by Iraqi Jews capture a vanished past in Iraq, informed by shared political aspirations and demands for social justice. These autobiographical and nostalgic accounts often end in 1950-1951 when Iraqi Jews were stripped of their Iraqi citizenship and deported to the newly established state of Israel. In this workshop, we read part of Avi Shlaim’s Three Worlds to explore the way this author, who is a professional historian, revisits the past in order to reimagine the future. While serving as a tribute to his parents’ lives in Baghdad, this memoir mobilizes a politics of reclamation that is forward-looking. Shlaim ends his memoir by writing that “nationalism all but destroyed the identity of the Arab-Jew but perhaps it has left just enough of a remnant to warrant a little optimism about the future. One thing is certain: without reviving or reimagining the kind of religious tolerance and civilized dialogue between Jews and Arabs that prevailed in Iraq before the emergence of the State of Israel, we will not be able to move beyond today’s impasse.” The workshop focuses on how the politics of reclamation that Shlaim advocates is about rewriting/remembering the past in order to imagine an optimistic future.

Workshop is open to PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, academic staff, PGR students. A book chapter will be shared with participants to read ahead of the workshop.

Light lunch will be served during the workshop.


Zainab Saleh is Associate Professor of Anthropology in Haverford College.

Date/ time: Thursday May 23 2024; 11:30-12:30

Location: TBC

Registration: limited spaces. Please contact Dr. Nida Alahmad.

This workshop is held with the support of the Student Development Office at the School of Social and Political Science