Jews of Iraq Conference

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Call for Papers

The Jews of Iraq - Engagement with Modernities

16-18 September 2019 in London

A conference organised by The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) in collaboration with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and the Department of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS.

The conference aims are to evaluate the many contributions of the Jewish community in Iraq within the spheres of the arts and culture, social policy, education, government and the economy in the early modern and modern period. Iraqi Jews constituted one of the world's largest and most historically significant Jewish communities and were in Iraq for over 2,500 years. There is a widening academic interest in the history and contributions of the Jewish community as well as growing interest in Jewish history in contemporary Iraq. This conference will bring together UK, Iraqi and international scholars interested in exploring and researching the contributions of this important community to modern Iraq. 

The specific themes and conference sessions will be developed on the basis of the papers that are accepted. The Steering Committee anticipates mixing academic disciplines during the conference and suggestions for session proposals and panels are welcome. 

The conference will include invited speakers for talks and panels on the memoirs, memories, and histories of the Jews of Iraq, chaired by Avi Shlaim FBA.

If you wish to offer an academic paper, please send a 350-word abstract in English to bisi@britac.ac.uk by 1 August for consideration by the Steering Committee.

Abstracts must include: 

1) the name and full contact details and affiliation of the contributor 

2) the title of the proposed paper

3) what the proposed paper intends to cover

4) an outline of the approach it will take 

Individual presentations will be limited to 20 minutes (TBC) with 10 minutes for questions. 


A publication of the proceedings is anticipated and participants will be asked to submit papers by 31 January 2020.

BISI will be able to provide financial help if required to fund economy airfares and/or train travel and hotel stays in London for the speakers, chairs and invited panellists. 

The Conference Steering Committee includes Joan Porter MacIver (BISI Vice-Chair/Conference Coordinator), Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago); Zvi Ben-Dor Benite (New York University); Daniel Lowe (British Library); Glen Rangwala (Cambridge University); Joseph Sassoon (Georgetown University); Ella Shohat (New York University), and Ali Khadr (BISI Executive Officer).

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