I work on the cultural, social, and intellectual history of the modern Middle East, especially Iraq. The thread that runs through my work is an interest in how imaginaries and experiences of time, space, and selfhood were reordered in the region during the 20th century. I have explored questions related to economic development and modernization theory; histories of psychology and pedagogy; secular and Islamic disciplines of subject formation; gender and history; insurgency, revolution, and decolonization; law and state formation; land settlement projects; and transitions from British to American empire. My first book, Familiar Futures: Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2019), looks at how various understandings of time, gender, and selfhood shaped pedagogical interventions into the intimate lives of Iraqis in the name of economic development and anticolonial revolution, from Iraq’s formal independence in 1932 to the first Ba`th coup of 1963. My second book, Enclosing Iraq: Insurgency, Development, Law (Stanford University Press, in contract), rethinks the formation of Iraq under British mandate governance in the 1920s, attending to the dynamic relation between insurgency and law in the coming-to-be of an Iraqi territory and Iraqi subjects, including the ways in which anticolonial movements and forms of sociality simultaneously provoked, were reshaped by, and repeatedly exceeded punitive, disciplinary, and developmental attempts to contain them. I have plans for a third book project, which will explore the social and ecological effects of postwar land settlement projects in Iraq and Jordan from the 1930s through the 1950s that relocated peasants and pastoral nomads onto isolated nuclear-family farms, often in accordance with US Cold War modernization theories of agrarian reform and political stability.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
BA, Dartmouth College, Comparative Literature
Youth and Youth Movements in the Modern Middle East
Gender, History, and Modernity
Empire and the Making of Iraq
The Age of Development
Borders and Borderlands
Citizens and Other Human Kinds.
Carolyn G. Heilbrun Dissertation Prize for outstanding feminist dissertation in the humanities, Center for the Study of Women and Society, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2012)
Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Center for Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2008)
John H. E. Fried Dissertation Fellowship, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2008)
Dissertation Research Fellowship, The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (2007)
Familiar Futures: Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq (Stanford, 2019)
“Secrets of Revolution’: Iraq and the Global 1919,” Jadaliyya, forthcoming.
“Response to Roundtable Review of Familiar Futures,” Jadaliyya, July 8, 2021.
“‘In Consonance with their Sacred Laws’: The Colonial Remaking of Religious Courts in Iraq,” in The Routledge Companion to Sexuality and Colonialism (New York: Routledge, 2021), 199-209.
Colonialism, Empire, and Nationalist Movements,” in Understanding and Teaching the Middle East, ed. Omnia El Shakry (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2020), 68-84.
“Violence in Iraq: Some Methodological and Historiographical Questions,” POMEPS Studies 35: Religion, Violence, and the State in Iraq (October 2019): 73-78.
“Essential Readings: The Iraqi Revolution of 1958,” Jadaliyya, October 7, 2019.
“Introduction,” Special Issue: “Psychoanalysis in the Middle East: Discourses and Encounters,” Psychoanalysis & History (2018): 269-75. With Omnia El Shakry and Caroline McKusick.
“ʿAli al-Wardi and the Miracles of the Unconscious,” Psychoanalysis & History (2018): 337-50.
“Gender as a Category of Analysis in Development and Environmental History,” Roundtable on “Gendering the Middle East,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 48:3 (August 2016).
"Lines Drawn on an Empty Map’: Iraq’s Borders and the Legend of the Artificial State,” Jadaliyya, June 2, 2015.
“‘Education for Real Life’: Pragmatist Pedagogies and American Interwar Expansion in Iraq,” The Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle East Mandates, ed. Cyrus Schayegh and Andrew Arsan (Routledge: New York, 2015).
“Futures Past: Nation, Gender, Time in Jawad Salim’s Monument to Freedom,” Kufa Review (Spring 2014).
“The Stage of Adolescence: Anticolonial Time, Youth Insurgency, and the Marriage Crisis in Hashimite Iraq,” History of the Present (Fall 2013).
“Building the Nation through the Production of Difference: The Gendering of Education in Iraq, 1928-58,” in Writing the History of Iraq: Historiographical and Political Challenges, ed. Riccardo Bocco, Hamit Bozarslan, Peter Sluglett, and Jordi Tejel (London: Imperial College Press, 2012).