Reclaiming Iraq The 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State

Politics, Sociology

Hala Halim, “Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive”
Abbas Kadhim, “Reclaiming Iraq: The 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State”
Jotham Parsons, “Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France: Currency, Culture, and the State”
Talking Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Embodiment, Gender and Identity by Emma Rees
Haya Gavish, “Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan”

Hala Halim, “Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive”

English | ISBN: 0823251764 | 2013 | 479 pages | PDF | 11 MB

Interrogating how Alexandria became enshrined as the exemplary cosmopolitan space in the Middle East, this book mounts a radical critique of Eurocentric conceptions of cosmopolitanism. The dominant account of Alexandrian cosmopolitanism elevates things European in the city’s culture and simultaneously places things Egyptian under the sign of decline. The book goes beyond this civilization/barbarism binary to trace other modes of intercultural solidarity.
Halim presents a comparative study of literary representations, addressing poetry, fiction, guidebooks, and operettas, among other genres. She reappraises three writers―C. P. Cavafy, E. M. Forster, and Lawrence Durrell―who she maintains have been cast as the canon of Alexandria. Attending to issues of genre, gender, ethnicity, and class, she refutes the view that these writers’ representations are largely congruent and uncovers a variety of positions ranging from Orientalist to anticolonial. The book then turns to Bernard de Zogheb, a virtually unpublished writer, and elicits his camp parodies of elite Levantine mores in operettas, one of which centers on Cavafy. Drawing on Arabic critical and historical texts, as well as contemporary writers’ and filmmakers’ engagement with the canonical triumvirate, Halim orchestrates an Egyptian dialogue with the European representations.

Abbas Kadhim, “Reclaiming Iraq: The 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State”

English | ISBN: 0292739249, 0292756895 | 2012 | 224 pages | PDF | 5 MB

While some scholars would argue that there was no “Iraq” before King Faysal’s coronation in 1921, Iraqi history spans fourteen centuries of tribal communities that endured continual occupation in their historic homeland, including Mongol invasions in the thirteenth century and subsequent Ottoman and British invasions. An Iraqi identity was established long before the League of Nations defined the nation-state of Iraq in 1932. Drawing on neglected primary sources and other crucial accounts, including memoirs and correspondence, Reclaiming Iraq puts the 1920 revolt against British occupation in a new light—one that emphasizes the role of rural fighters between June and November of that year.
While most accounts of the revolution have been shaped by the British administration and successive Iraqi governments, Abbas Kadhim sets out to explore the reality that the intelligentsia of Baghdad and other cities in the region played an ideological role but did not join in the fighting. His history depicts a situation we see even today in conflicts in the Middle East, where most military engagement is undertaken by rural tribes that have no central base of power. In the study of the modern Iraqi state, Kadhim argues, Faysal’s coronation has detracted from the more significant, earlier achievements of local attempts at self-rule. With clarity and insight, this work offers an alternative perspective on the dawn of modern Iraq.

Jotham Parsons, “Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France: Currency, Culture, and the State”

English | ISBN: 0801451590 | 2014 | 336 pages | PDF | 3 MB

Coinage and currency―abstract and socially created units of value and power―were basic to early modern society. By controlling money, the people sought to understand and control their complex, expanding, and interdependent world. In Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France, Jotham Parsons investigates the creation and circulation of currency in France. The royal Cour des Monnaies centralized monetary administration, expanding its role in the emerging modern state during the sixteenth century and assuming new powers as an often controversial repository of theoretical and administrative expertise.
The Cour des Monnaies, Parsons shows, played an important role in developing the contemporary understanding of money, as a source of both danger and opportunity at the center of economic and political life. More practically, the Monnaies led generally successful responses to the endemic inflation of the era and the monetary chaos of a period of civil war. Its work investigating and prosecuting counterfeiters shone light into a picaresque world of those who used the abstract and artificial nature of money for their own ends. Parsons’s broad, multidimensional portrait of money in early modern France also encompasses the literature of the age, in which money’s arbitrary and dangerous power was a major theme.

Talking Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Embodiment, Gender and Identity by Emma Rees

English | 21 Dec. 2017 | ISBN: 3319637770 | 233 Pages | PDF | 2.33 MB

In this collection, leading thinkers, writers, and activists offer their responses to the simple question “Do I have a body, or am I my body?” The essays engage with the array of meanings that our bodies have today, ranging from considerations of nineteenth-century discourses of bodily shame and otherness, through to arguing for a brand new corporeal vocabulary for the twenty-first century. Increasing numbers of people are choosing to modify their bodies, but as the essays in this volume show, this is far from being a new practice: over hundreds of years, it has evolved and accrued new meanings. This richly interdisciplinary volume maps a range of cultural anxieties about the body, resulting in a timely and compelling book that makes a vital contribution to today’s key debates about embodiment.

Haya Gavish, “Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan”

English | ISBN: 0814333664 | 2009 | 454 pages | PDF | 8 MB

Unwitting Zionists examines the Jewish community in the northern Kurdistan town of Zakho from the end of the Ottoman period until the disappearance of the community through aliyah by 1951. Because of its remote location, Zakho was far removed from the influence of the Jewish religious leadership in Iraq and preserved many of its religious traditions independently, becoming the most important Jewish community in the region and known as “Jerusalem of Kurdistan.” Author Haya Gavish argues, therefore, that when the community was exposed to Zionism, it began to open up to external influences and activity. Originally published in Hebrew, Unwitting Zionists uses personal memoirs, historical records, and interviews to investigate the duality between Jewish tradition and Zionism among Zakho’s Jews.
Gavish consults a variety of sources to examine the changes undergone by the Jewish community as a result of its religious affiliation with Eretz-Israel, its exposure to Zionist efforts, and its eventual immigration to Israel. Because relatively little written documentation about Zakho exists, Gavish relies heavily on folkloristic sources like personal recollections and traditional stories, including extensive material from her own fieldwork with an economically and demographically diverse group of men and women from Zakho. She analyzes this firsthand information within a historical framework to reconstruct a communal reality and lifestyle that was virtually unknown to anyone outside of the community.
Appendixes contain biographical details of the interviewees for additional background.
Gavish also addresses the relative merits of personal memoirs, optimal interviewer-interviewee relationships, and the problem of relying on the interviewees’ memories in her study. Folklore, oral history, anthropology, and Israeli studies scholars, as well as anyone wanting to learn more about religion, commuity, and nationality in the Middle East will appreciate Unwitting Zionists.