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On April 10, 2003, as the world watched a statue of Saddam Hussein come crashing down in the heart of Baghdad, a mob of looters attacked the Iraq National Museum. Despite the presence of an American tank unit, the pillaging went unchecked, and more than 15,000 artifacts—some of the oldest evidence of human culture—disappeared into the shadowy worldwide market in illicit antiquities. In the five years since that day, the losses have only mounted, with gangs digging up roughly half a million artifacts that had previously been unexcavated; the loss to our shared human heritage is incalculable. With The Rape of Mesopotamia, Lawrence Rothfield answers the complicated question of how this wholesale thievery was allowed to occur. Drawing on extensive interviews with soldiers, bureaucrats, war planners, archaeologists, and collectors, Rothfield reconstructs the planning failures—originating at the highest levels of the U.S. government—that led to the invading forces’ utter indifference to the protection of Iraq’s cultural heritage from looters. Widespread incompetence and miscommunication on the part of the Pentagon, unchecked by the disappointingly weak advocacy efforts of worldwide preservation advocates, enabled a tragedy that continues even today, despite widespread public outrage. Bringing his story up to the present, Rothfield argues forcefully that the international community has yet to learn the lessons of Iraq—and that what happened there is liable to be repeated in future conflicts. A powerful, infuriating chronicle of the disastrous conjunction of military adventure and cultural destruction, The Rape of Mesopotamia is essential reading for all concerned with the future of our past.
The Historical Dictionary of Iraq, Second Edition covers the history of Iraq through a chronology, an introductory essay, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has several hundred cross-referenced entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Iraq.
Der Vormarsch der Milizen des selbsternannten Islamischen Staats gehört derzeit zu den beherrschenden Nachrichtenthemen. In ihm zeigt sich eine neue Qualität des Terrors, der mit dem Export des Heiligen Kriegs, des Dschihad, auch nach Europa überzuschwappen droht. Doch wie konnte es zu dieser bedrohlichen Entwicklung kommen? Wilfried Buchta, ein ausgewiesener Kenner der Region, zeichnet die fatalen Ereignisse im Nahen Osten nach. Er beleuchtet dabei die Rolle der wichtigsten Akteure und Machtfaktoren und erklärt, welche Handlungsoptionen dem Westen heute noch bleiben.
Collecting has a long tradition in the Middle East but the museum as a public institution is relatively new. Today there are national museums for antiquities in most Arab countries. While in some cases the political and social climate has hindered the foundation of museums, with existing collections even destroyed at times, the recent museum boom in the Gulf States is again changing the outlook. This unique book is the first to explore collecting practices in archives and museums in the modern Arab world, featuring case studies of collecting practices in countries ranging from Egypt and Lebanon to Palestine, Jordan, Iraq and the Gulf, and providing a theoretical and methodological basis for future research. The authors are also concerned with investigating the relationship between past and present, since collecting practices tell us a great deal not only about the past but also about the ways we approach the past and present conceptions of our identities. Collections can be textual as well, as in the stories, memories or events selected, recalled, and retold in the pages of a text. As interest in memory studies as well as popular and visual culture grows in the Arab World, so collecting practices are at the heart of any critical approach to the past and the present in that region. The book will be of great interest not only to scholars and students of the modern Arab world but also to professionals in museums and collections in the region, as well as around the world.
Drawing together the insights of postcolonial scholarship and cultural studies, Popular Postcolonialisms questions the place of ‘the popular’ in the postcolonial paradigm. Multidisciplinary in focus, this collection explores the extent to which popular forms are infused with colonial logics, and whether they can be employed by those advocating for change. It considers a range of fiction, film, and non-hegemonic cultural forms, engaging with topics such as environmental change, language activism, and cultural imperialism alongside analysis of figures like Tarzan and Frankenstein. Building on the work of cultural theorists, it asks whether the popular is actually where elite conceptions of the world may best be challenged. It also addresses middlebrow cultural production, which has tended to be seen as antithetical to radical traditions, asking whether this might, in fact, form an unlikely realm from which to question, critique, or challenge colonial tropes. Examining the ways in which the imprint of colonial history is in evidence (interrogated, mythologized or sublimated) within popular cultural production, this book raises a series of speculative questions exploring the interrelation of the popular and the postcolonial.
Featuring chapters from social scientists directly engaged with the process, this volume offers a concise introduction to the U.S. military's effort to account for culture and increase its cultural capacity over the last decade. Contributors to this work consider some of the key challenges, lessons learned, and the limits of such efforts.

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