Conference, “Identity, Sovereignty, and Global Politics in the Building of Baghdad”

Using the history of urban development in Baghdad as a reference point, this conference examines the extent to which interventions intended to modernize and integrate different populations in the city were part of a larger process of negotiating competing visions of political economy, sovereignty, and identity in post-WWII Iraq. By gathering political scientists, architectural and urban historians, and scholars of Iraq and the larger Arab world, the conference engages theoretical and empirical questions about the ruptures and continuities of Baghdad’s urban and political history, using the built environment of the city as a canvas for understanding struggles over Iraq’s position in a global context shaped by ongoing war tensions (from the Cold War to the Gulf War and beyond) to more recent Middle East conflicts. The full day event (September 19) will be preceded by a Keynote Panel held the prior evening, focused on the relationship between war and urbanism, a theme that will re-emerge comparatively and historically in subsequent day’s panels which focus on a range of theoretical, historical, and practical dilemmas facing Baghdad and other cities in the region. The conference ends with a half-day discussion of the urban planning, design, and governance challenges facing the city now and in the near future. Keynote Panel Discussion. War and Urbanism Presentations by: Stuart Elden, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick: Crises of Territorial Integrity: Iraq and Nigeria Todd Reisz, Yale School of Architecture: “Destroyers & Builders” Commentaries by: Diane Davis and Pierre Belanger, Harvard Graduate School of Design Moderated by: Neil Brenner, Harvard Graduate School of Design
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