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Nationalism, archaeology and ideology in Iraq from 1921 to the present

"This thesis examines the use of archaeology in the development of national identity in Iraq from the period before the establishment of the Hashimite monarchy in 1921 to the present Ba'th regime and Saddam Husayn. During King Faysal I's period (1921--1933), archaeology was used to highlight the 'Arabness' of the ancient Mesopotamians so as to keep the nation on a pan-Arabist course and steer away from developing a regional identity. Iraq's pre-Islamic heritage was approached with much reserve since the government feared alienating the majority Muslim population by glorifying the country's achievements before the advent of Islam. In contrast, 'Abd al-Karim Qasim's regime (1958--1963) focused unbridled attention to the Mesopotamian heritage in an effort to distance the newly established republic from the pan-Arabists' call to join with the United Arab Republic. Between the two poles of identifying the national identity with either the Arab or Mesopotamian character, the Ba'th regime embarked on a cultural campaign that used both identities in defining the modern Iraqi man and woman. While the campaign was relegated strictly to the cultural sphere of the nation, the intent was political in that the regime shifted to stressing the Muslim-Arab identity of Iraq when appealing to support from other Arab nations; and to the pre-Islamic Mesopotamian identity when dealing with the religious and ethnic cleavages in Iraqi society"

Author(s):  Haider, Hind A
Format:  Book
Publisher:  McGilll University, Institute of Islamic Studies
Publication City:  Montreal
Date:  2001