2014–2015

End of Diversity: Nationhood and Religious and Sectarian Exclusion in the Arab World

Political Science/Cultural Studies

My research will examine and discuss the relationship between sociopolitical conflict and the identity and cultural characteristics of Baghdad. While focusing on sociopolitical roots and dynamics, the research will also benefit from cultural studies, social psychology, and narrative and discourse analysis. The project aims to describe and analyze dynamics and factors such as modernization, the effect of urbanization and decline of rural life, the effect of demographics and socioeconomic factors, Islamization, political motives for the construction of boundaries between "in-group" and "out-group," decline of national identities, discourse of exclusion, and globalization of religious and sectarian intolerance.

Students interested in the Middle East and some or all of the research fields can assist the project. The ability to read Arabic, Persian, or Turkish will be a good asset but is not a requirement. Students will search for secondary and comparative materials. One important element of this research is to track the cultural and demographic changes that took place in Baghdad. Depending on the number and interests of the students, we can form a team that researches and discusses theoretical and non-theoretical issues related to this project on a regular basis.

This will be an opportunity for students to develop independent research about a region whose conflicts are of significant political and humanitarian implications.

For those interested in the Middle East, this topic will help develop their knowledge and understanding of the region’s problems and the dynamics influencing the current struggles.