This essay highlights silenced aspects of Arab-Iraqi nationalism. While scholars of Iraqi nationalism paid great heed to intellectuals affiliated with the state, I explore sources that were written outside of official circles, namely, novels, to rescue a more nuanced understanding of Iraqi nationalism and, concurrently, to reconstruct the richness of the Iraqi cultural field. I focus on two intellectuals, Mahmud Ahmad al-Sayyid (1904-37) and Dhu Nun Ayyub (1908-84), two socialists whose novels critique the state and its elites. I argue that, despite the prominence of Pan-Arabism in Iraqi national historiography, their works reveal the existence of Eastern forms of Iraqi national identity that emphasize the connections among Iraqi, Indian, and Turkish nationalism(s). Such works also complicate our periodization of Iraqi history. Whereas scholars agree that after the end of World War II the Iraqi public sphere was invigorated by radical voices from the Left, these novels demonstrate the early existence of critical and democratic voices in the interwar period.
“Out of Place”: Home and Empire in the Works of Mahmud Ahmad Al-Sayyid and Dhu Nun Ayyub
Orit Bashkin; “Out of Place”: Home and Empire in the Works of Mahmud Ahmad Al-Sayyid and Dhu Nun Ayyub. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2008; 28 (3): 428–442. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-2008-022
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