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1981
1-2: Iraq and the Maladies of Archives
  • ISSN: 2515-8538
  • E-ISSN: 2515-8546

Abstract

This article reflects on a recent research trip to Iraqi archives to raise questions about methodology in historical writing on Iraq. The article begins by describing the documentary sources available in Basra and Baghdad for writing provincial urban histories, and discusses the implications of accessing state archives in Iraq today, when the state that established them arguably no longer exists. It then interprets the sense of disjuncture that I experienced when comparing my own interest in twentieth-century Basra to that of local scholars writing about the same topic to build an argument about historiography and conceptual approaches to the modern Iraqi state. While the state is conspicuously absent from local Basrawi scholarship in particular, it occupies an outsized but superficial position in most Anglophone accounts of modern Iraq. New archival research may offer an alternative account, however, through a social history of the Iraqi state and its peripheries.

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2022-06-01
2024-07-13
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Basra; geography; historiography; methodology; social history; state formation
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