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[Conference] The Jews of Iraq – Engagement with Modernities

16‐18 September 2019 at SOAS, London

Below you will find the programme of the conference ‘Jews of Iraq – Engagement with Modernities’ which will take place in London on September 16 – 18, 2019.

The BISI conference is organised by the British Institute for the Study of Iraq 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 Steering Committees 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)

To register and to see the programme, please go the events page of the website

For any questions, please contact:


Day 1 – Monday, 16 September 2019 13.00. – 13. 45 Registration 14.00 Welcoming Remarks

14.00 – 16.00 Memoires, Memories and Personal Histories: Moderator – Ella Shohat and Avi Shlaim (Chair & Speaker) Speakers: David Basson, Linda Abdulaziz Menuhin Sami Zubaida

16.00 – 16.30 Tea/Coffee break

16.30 – 17.30 Panel Discussion and Q & A 18.00 – 19.30 Conference Reception at SOAS

Day 2 – Tuesday, 17 September 2019

9.00 – 9.30 Historical Overview – Zvi Ben‐Dor Benite & Orit Bashkin

9.30 – 11.00 Panel 1: Jews in Iraqi Society; sociological and cultural aspects Chair: Orit Bashkin

Geoffrey Khan, University of Cambridge ‒ The Aramaic‐speaking Jewish communities of Northern Iraq

Sarah Farhan, Department of History, York University, Canada ‒ Jewish Medical Professionals in Hashemite Iraq: The Making and Unmaking of State‐Intermediaries

Pelle Valentin Olsen, University of Chicago, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations ‒ Iraqi Jews and the Production and Consumption of Leisure

11.00 -11.30 Tea & Coffee 11.30 – 13.30

Panel 2: Ottoman Iraq and its Jews – Early experiments with modernity Chair: Zvi Ben Dor Benite

Annie Green, University of Pennsylvania ‒ Political Roots of an Iraqi Statesman: The Ottoman Deputy Sassoon Efendi Hesqel

Lital Levy, Princeton University ‒ Literary Translation and Iraqi Jewish Modernity: The Case of fin‐de‐siècle Judeo‐Arabic Fiction

Mazen Latif, Editor in chief of Nahraya ‒ The role of Iraqi Jews in the Iraqi journalism

Yuval Evri, SOAS ‒ Between Al‐Andalus and Baghdad: Tracing Iraqi‐Jewish Literary Visions in the Turn of the Twentieth Century

13.30 – 14.30

LUNCH BREAK 14.30 – 16.30

Panel 3: The Hashemite period: New roles for Iraqi Jews Chair: Joseph Sassoon

Emile Cohen, independent researcher ‒ Iraqi Jewish education and impact on Iraqi Society

Hanaw Mohammed Taqi Mohammed Amin ‒ Urban Jewish Cultural Heritage

Sasha R. Goldstein‐Sabbah, Leiden University ‒ Baghdadi Transnational Networks in the Hashemite Period

Khalidah Hatem (Fine Arts Institute Baghdad) ‒ The role of Al‐Hasid newspaper in refining the cultural awareness in Iraqi community : A Study investigating woman's issues


Film screening – Remember Baghdad

DAY 3 – Wednesday, 18 September 2019 9.15 – 11.15

Panel 4: Music, Cinema, and Performance: Cultural Considerations Chair: Ella Shohat

Dafna Dori, Uppsala University ‒ Ṣāliḥ al‐Kuwaytī as a modern Iraqi composer

Liliana Carrizo, University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign ‐ Jewish participation in Iraqi society from a musical perspective

Sara Manasseh ‒ Musical Life in Baghdad c. 1920–1950: Changing Attitudes towards Iraqi Jewish ‒ Women as Performers and Participants

Yaron Shemer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – Home, Nostalgia, and Post‐Memory in the Films of Second and Third Generation Iraqi‐Jewish Immigrants

11.15 – 11.45

Tea/Coffee 11.45 – 13.15

Panel 5: Representing the Past: Archival, Literary and Culinary Dimensions Chairs: Joseph Sassoon & Ella Shohat

Daniel Monterescu, Central European University, & Joel R Hart, Oxford University ‒ The Diasporic Social Life of Amba: Culinary Schismogenesis Among Iraqi Jews in London and Israel

Hana Morgenstern, Cambridge University ‒ Fire in the Camp: Committed Arab Literature and the Transit Camp Narratives

Sigal Goorgi, Ben‐Gurion University ‒ The Culture and the Identity of the Iraqi Jews as reflected in their literary works

13.15 – 14.30

LUNCH 14.30 – 16.30

Panel 6: Painful dislocation and exile and future Chair: Zvi Ben‐Dor Benite

Khairuldeen Al Makhzoomi, Georgetown University ‒ The Forgotten Minorities: The History of Iraqi Jews from 1948‐1971

Gadi Algazi, Tel Aviv University ‒ Protest on the Frontier: Iraqi Jews in an Israeli Transit Camp (1951–1952)

Ronen Zeidel, The Moshe Dayan Center for ME studies, Tel Aviv University – “Where are the Iraqi Jews?”: Difficulties in Communication Between the Second Generation of Iraqi Jews in Israel and Non Jewish Iraqis

Sa’ad Salloum, College of Political Sciences of Mustansiriya University, Baghdad ‒ Is there any future for the existence of Jewish Minority in Iraq?

16.30 – 16.45


16.45 – 17.30 Closing Panel – Orit Bashkin, Zvi Ben‐Dor Benite, and Ella Shohat Chair: Avi Shlaim