Upcoming Events


Monday, September 16, 2019 - 13:00 to Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 17:30
SOAS University of London, London, WC1H OXG

Jews of Iraq Conference - Engagement with Modernities

A conference organised by The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) in collaboration with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and the Department of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS.

The conference aims to evaluate the many contributions of the Jewish community in Iraq within the spheres of the arts and culture, social policy, education, government and the economy in the early modern and modern period. Iraqi Jews constituted one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities and were in Iraq for over 2,500 years. There is a widening academic interest in the history and contributions of the Jewish community as well as growing interest in Jewish history in contemporary Iraq. This conference will bring together UK, Iraqi and international scholars interested in exploring and researching the contributions of this important community to modern Iraq.

The full Conference Programme

Tickets can be purchased here. 

Conference Steering Committee:

  • Joan Porter MacIver (BISI Vice-Chair/Conference Coordinator)
  • Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago)
  • Zvi Ben-Dor Benite (New York University)
  • Daniel Lowe (British Library)
  • Glen Rangwala (Cambridge University)
  • Joseph Sassoon (Georgetown University)
  • Ella Shohat (New York University)
  • Ali Khadr (BISI Executive Officer)

We welcome support from trusts, companies, and individuals. Any and all donations will be gratefully welcomed and you can make a donation here.

If you would like to discuss sponsorship opportunities then please do send an email to Ali Khadr at bisi@britac.ac.uk


Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 18:00 to 20:00
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

This lecture will introduce one of Baghdad’s iconic Sufi shrines – that of the 12th-century Sufi mystic Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī, which has managed to weather challenging times in recent decades. Secularism, Arab Nationalism, Baath Party Dictatorship, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and sectarianism, have tested this Shrine and its community, its survival and its evolvement.  Some of these multi-faceted trials and their legacies have been recorded through field research carried out between 2009 and 2018, and the findings will be presented here.    

Noorah Al-Gailani is a trained museum curator and holds the post of Curator of Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums.  Noorah researched the subject of this lecture for her Ph.D. degree in Theology at the University of Glasgow.  Her thesis is titled “The Shrine of ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī in Baghdad & the Shrine of ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Jīlānī in ʿAqra: Mapping the multiple orientations of two Qādirī Sufi shrines in Iraq.”

Available Seats: