Jews of Iraq Conference

Jews of Iraq Conference - Engagement with Modernities


This major international conference took place between 16 and 18 September 2019. Organised by The British Institute for the Study of Iraq 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 aimed 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 brought together UK, Iraqi and international scholars interested in exploring and researching the contributions of this important community in modern Iraq.

The proceedings will be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.

You can view the full Conference Programme here.

Recordings of the presentations can be found below: 


Day 1 - Memoires, Memories and Personal Histories


Day 2

Panel 1: Jews in Iraqi Society; Sociological and Cultural Aspects


Panel 2: Ottoman Iraq and its Jews – Early Experiments with Modernity


Panel 3: The Hashemite Period: New Roles for Iraqi Jews


Day 3

Panel 1: Music, Cinema, and Performance: Cultural Considerations


Panel 2: Representing the Past: Archival, Literary and Culinary Dimensions


Panel 3: Painful Dislocation, Exile and the Future



 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)

  • Ellah 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.