From the US backing for the 1963 Ba'th coup and support for Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, to the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion and occupation, American foreign policy has always been deeply implicated in the modern history of Iraq. In her new book, Return to Ruin, anthropologist Zainab Saleh examines the ways this has played out in the experiences of Iraqi exiles — offering stories of aging communists, uprooted immigrants and displaced elites, as well as her own narrative of loss and belonging.
Zainab Saleh, Ph.D. Sociocultural Anthropology, Columbia University, is Assistant Professor in Anthropology. Her research focuses on memory, nostalgia, belonging, subjectivity, transnational networks, imperial politics, and war and violence in Iraq and the Iraqi Diaspora. She examines the transformative impact that the US occupation of Iraq had on the London-based Iraqi community’s social and political landscape. Her book is entitled, Return to Ruin: Iraqi Narratives of Exile and Nostalgia.