2009 US Fellows

Professor Sinan Antoon, New York University
In the Vocative Case: Saadi Youssef’s Iraq,” Phase II

Sinan Antoon will complete a documentary film about the Iraqi poet, Saadi Youssef. Based on extensive research carried out around the world, the documentary will contextualize Youssef’s life and work with interview and archival footage from the U.S., London, Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, and Baghdad. The documentary will show how Youssef’s experience and poetry reflect or respond to Iraq’s history in the twentieth century.

Dr. James Armstrong, Semitic Museum, Harvard University
The Babylonian Ceramic Tradition: The Second Millennium B.C.”

James Armstrong, along with colleague Hermann Gasche, will complete and publish a comprehensive ceramic typology for second-millennium Babylonia and its periphery. The typology is based upon well-dug, well-recorded stratigraphic sequences and will provide a resource for scholars who study the archaeology and history of ancient Mesopotamia.

Ms. Arbella Bet-Shlimon, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
Kirkuk, 1918-1968: Oil and the Politics of Identity in an Iraqi City”

With TAARII support, Arbella Bet-Shlimon will travel to the U.K. to conduct research for a dissertation that addresses the history of the oil industry in Kirkuk from its genesis through the coup that brought the Ba’th Party to power. She will explore the impact of the industry upon local politics and society and will examine the interaction of economic change and identity politics.

Professor Eric Davis, Political Science, Rutgers University
Youth Attitudes Toward Identity, Sectarianism, and Democracy: Two Case Studies

Eric Davis will undertake focus group research with two sets of Iraqi youths between the ages of 15 and 25: Kurds in the North and Arabs in the South. He aims to analyze the socialization, attitudes, and political and social identities of youth in Iraq toward sectarianism and democracy and will examine factors that cause some youth to turn toward radical politics or toward democratic values and processes. Davis plans for these case studies to provide the basis for a large, national youth survey to be conducted in the future.

Professor Rochelle Davis, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, with Omar Shakir
The U.S. Military and Iraqi Culture: Iraqi Perspectives

Rochelle Davis, assisted by Omar Shakir, will interview Iraqis about their perception of U.S. troops’ knowledge and use of Iraqi culture in their interactions with local populations in Iraq. Davis has already analyzed cultural training programs and materials used by the U.S. military. By combining this analysis with her interview findings, she hopes to illuminate the complex ways in which Iraqi and American notions of Iraqi culture have interacted, and the significance of those interactions for Iraqis’ perceptions of the ongoing presence of the U.S. military in their country.

Professor Abbas Kadhim, Department of History and International Affairs, Naval Post Graduate Academy
Capturing the Narratives of the 1991 Uprising in Iraq

In 1991, Shi’a in nine provinces of southern Iraq rebelled against the government of Saddam Hussein after the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Abandoned by the international community, hundreds of thousands of uprising participants face reprisals by the regime. Abbas Kadhim will conduct interviews with Iraqis who participated in the uprisings. In addition to publishing an article on the participants’ memories of events, he will also create an interview archive, which will become available to other scholars who study the period.

Professor Bassam Yousif, Department of Economics, Indiana State University
Iraq at the Intersection of Development and Violence, 1950-1990"

Where previous studies of development in Iraq have focused on money-metric factors, such as GDP, income, and wages, Bassam Yousif, will complete a manuscript that evaluates Iraq’s development experience between 1950 and 1990 from a human development perspective. This new vantage will consider the country’s historic social cleavages and its imbalanced, oil-based economy in addition to other economic outcomes. The resulting book will challenge long-standing assumptions about Iraq’s twentieth century economic development.


These fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through a sub-grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.