Critical Studies of Iraq
Critical Studies of Iraq
Critical Studies of Iraq is based at the International Institute for Peace at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Rutgers University-Newark led by Professor Zahra Ali, and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Professor Ali works in coordination with several partners in Iraq including the Iraqi Al-Amal Association under the supervision of Jamal Al-Jawaheri and scholar Ilham Mekki Hammadi, Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies under the leadership of Ali Taher Alhammood, and the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights led by Mustafa Saadoon. The initiative aims to foster, support, and develop the critical scholarship of social scientists and feminists in Iraq. Taking Iraq as framework to theorize from (and not only about), it focuses on the epistemologies and critical knowledge emerging from Iraqi scholars and activists today.
Academia and knowledge
Academia and knowledge production in Iraq have been through decades of war and years of economic sanctions that deeply affected the education system from primary school to higher education. In light of the recent massive protest movements in Iraq, academics and civil society actors insist on the crucial need to foster, renew, and strengthen critical and contemporary scholarship in the fields of social sciences. The project addresses the structural, political, and infrastructural challenges faced by Iraqi academics and researchers and the deep unevenness that constitute the global academy today.
The project involves collaborations and partnerships with academic institutions and civil society organizations in Iraq. It provides support, training, and mentorship and fosters the development of a research agenda in the social sciences and in women, feminist, and gender studies in Iraq. An agenda that is critical, qualitative and informed by an in-depth understanding of everyday life in the country and the complexity of its society.
Bridging the gap
The goal is to develop a scholarship that is meaningful for people in Iraq to sustain critical thinking, social justice and peace. The project also aims to bridge the gap between academia and the civil society, between knowledge production and knowledge use. It is designed to produce significant publications in publicly accessible journals and online platforms that will grant visibility and impact to scholarship and scholars based in Iraq.