Roundtable: Perspectives on Researching Iraq Today
In the aftermath of the invasion and fall of the Ba‘th regime, the US occupation introduced problematic opportunities for scholars eager to study Iraq. Anthropologists and urbanists were actively recruited to embed with military forces and provide information to US local commanders and intelligence agencies.
The Iraq Memory Foundation established archival collections at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution that placed millions of Iraq government documents at the ﬁnger tips of historians and political scientists. Academic researchers continue to grapple with the potentially paralyzing ethical dilemma that shapes current knowledge production on Iraq: Will our pursuit of research make us complicit in, or even allow us to beneﬁt from, the war and occupation? How can we contribute to the production of knowledge on Iraq and maintain a critical distance from the imperial apparatus?
More than ten years after the US-led coalition invasion, Iraq remains inaccessible to many international scholars invested in producing humanistic, ethnographic, and historical research grounded in qualitative ﬁeld work. This collection of short essays brings together scholars working in ﬁelds of history, visual culture, literature, architectural and urban studies, and anthropology to address the opportunities for and challenges to research on Iraq since 2003 and prior to the emergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.