Alda Benjamen: "Assyrians in Modern Iraq: Negotiating a Cultural Space"

WhenNovember 24, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
WhereChicago, IL
Event Website
Contact InformationCenter for Middle Eastern Studies
DescriptionThis lecture is the first installment of the “Reclaiming Lost Pasts - The Assyrian Community in Modern Times” lecture series.

The series is made possible through a generous donation from The Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation (AUAF), Dr. John Michael, Dr. Ronald Michael, Dr. Edison Ishaya, Dr . Mark Mkrdichian, Mr. Robert Dekelaita, and Dr. Ebby Paul Jiddo.

Alda Benjamen is the Avimalek Betyousef postdoctoral Fellow in Assyrian history, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for the Middle East, at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to that, she was a Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. She has also held postdoctoral research positions at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the Smithsonian Institution. Her expertise lies in the twentieth-century intellectual, cultural and political history of Iraq and Syria. Her work focuses on issues of minoritization and pluralism, raising questions about memory, home, and belonging in multilingual and diasporic communities in the context of rural-to-urban and global migrations.

Her book manuscript, Assyrians in Modern Iraq: Negotiating Political and Cultural Space (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) is a monograph on twentieth-century Iraqi intellectual history based on extensive primary research inside the country. It focuses on the perspective of the Iraqi periphery and the history of bilingualism, challenging the monolingual narrative of the state, examining the relationship between the strengthened Iraqi state under the Baʿth regime and Assyrians. Drawing upon oral and ethnographic sources and archival documents, in both Arabic and modern Aramaic, uncovered at the Iraqi National Archives in Baghdad, as well as libraries and private collections in the north, it explores the role of minorities in Iraq’s intellectual and oppositional movements in the late twentieth century.
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Lectures
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