Crisis and Development in 20th Century Iraq | Sara Pursley

E397 | What is "development?" What can we learn about this key concept of the 20th century world by looking at it through the history of modern Iraq? In this episode, Sara Pursley unpacks the history of "development" in many forms to show how ideas about what the future should look like have governed what's possible in the present and the ways that we can narrate the past. From the girls' schools of interwar Iraq, to the "family farms" instituted there by American experts in the 1940s, to literacy programs instituted after Iraq's 1958 revolution, we see how projects meant to give Iraqis better futures often had unintended and contradictory effects. See more at Sara Pursley is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. She is the author of Familiar Futures: Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2019) and a number of articles, including, most recently, "`Ali al-Wardi and the Miracles of the Unconscious," Psychoanalysis and History 20 (December 2018): 336-51. Suzie Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She is currently finishing a dissertation entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Gender and Childrearing in Egypt and Lebanon, 1865-1939." CREDITS Episode No. 397 Release Date: 08 January 2019 Recording Location: New York, New York Audio editing by Matthew Ghazarian Music: Louisa Tounsia, "Ya Bent el-Nass" Images and bibliography courtesy of Sara Pursley, available at

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