Is Iraq moving towards communalist historical accounts based on wounded memories or on dis- courses of victimization? Interestingly, the discourse of victimization of some Iraqi groups must also be analyzed through the lens of a broader phenomenon. The memory of the present is extremely volatile and fragile. It is also deceptive, because it is saturated with emotion and passion as well as being exposed to an excess of information, to acts of disinformation or misinformation and, in the end, to a lack of meaning Bozarslan and Harling, , pp. The challenges faced by researchers concern the analysis of the past, both in its own terms and also from the point of view of the present.
In this respect, the trial and execution of Saddam Husayn raised many questions. But what role has been played by historians? Broadly speaking, can 4 On some of these violent chapters through history, see the volume edited by Mark Levene and Penny Roberts Can they refuse to do so? Taking into account all the elements mentioned above, it seems clear that working out a new historical narrative centered on the state is problematic at the very least. Therefore, what materials are needed to reunite plural memories? What should be the aim?
The material challenges are also considerable. For historians, written documents and archival materials are essential, although a very wide range of sources is commonly used today. Some documents have been recovered, but others have disappeared for ever. Consequently, the question arises of the mul- tiplication of sources written and oral, local, etc. Finally, the human dimension cannot be ignored. Others resigned then and sub- sequently because of death threats from Islamist groups and other gangs: some three hundred have been killed. In this state of violence, what does it 6 For a detailed account, see Watenpaugh et al.
Nevertheless, it is not only Iraqi actors who have left their imprint on the his- tory of Iraq.
Certainly, the British mandatory authorities transformed Iraqi society. Following the example of British policies during the mandate, US policy since has also encouraged the emergence of a new class of Iraqi clients, which in turn will leave its mark, either positively or negatively, on the history of Iraq. Nevertheless, a narrative exclusively based on these disruptive moments may lead us to observe Iraqi society through the lens of political violence, making Iraqis the champions of violence in the Middle East.
Nevertheless, as Hamit Bozarslan suggests Bozarslan, , pp. For the period until the late s, Hanna Batatu underlined the diversity of Iraqis, not only in ethnic or sectarian terms, but also in social and economic ones Batatu, , pp.
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As mentioned earlier, within certain contexts e. Therefore, instead of rejecting the validity of works focused on power, clan, tribalism and sectarianism as grids of analysis, it seems more appropriate to multiply the sites of observation and the levels of analysis between the local, the regional and the global, and between internal and external so that our perspectives on Iraqi or even Middle Eastern history can be renewed. In this sense, the essays assembled in this volume seek to open new avenues for research that can contribute to a fuller — albeit incomplete — understanding of the history of Iraq.
See for instance Peter Galbraith This version of Iraqi history has been contested convincingly by Reidar Visser. Related Papers. Historiographical and Political Challenges, J. Tejel, P. Contemporary Arab Thought. Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman. Kylie Baxter. Impossible Revolution. Yassin al-Haj Saleh. Long War for Freedom.
Barry Rubin. Nation and Religion. Refugees of the Revolution. Diana Allan.
Under the Drones. Shahzad Bashir. Radical Islam and International Security. Efraim Inbar. The Headscarf Debates. Anna C. Islam and the Politics of Secularism. Nurullah Ardic. Islam in the Balance. Lawrence Rubin. Transnational Turkish Islam. Thijl Sunier. The War of Ideas. Walid Phares. Clash of Identities. Baruch Kimmerling. Religious Radicalism in the Greater Middle East. Islamism and Cultural Expression in the Arab World.
Abir Hamdar. Islamism and Modernism. Farhang Rajaee. Routledge Handbook of the Arab Spring. Larbi Sadiki. Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey. Ahmet Kuru. Official Stories. Laurie A. Crowds and Politics in North Africa. Andrea Khalil. Samih K. The Alawis of Syria. Michael Kerr. Hassan A. Peace Out of Reach. Stephen Eric Bronner. Narrating Conflict in the Middle East. Dina Matar. Shi'ite Lebanon. Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr.
The Ottoman Cities of Lebanon. James A. Metin Heper. Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East. Nelida Fuccaro. Farhad Khosrokhavar.
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