I am a PhD student at the Department of History at Amsterdam University as part of the Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies.
I have background in the discipline of history, with a specific interest in social movements, state formation, and cultural representations. I have published, researched and lectured extensively about the rise of paramilitarism in Iraq during my time at the Dutch institute for war holocaust and genocide studies (NIOD). Currently I am researching state-society relations in Iraq during the Baath government by conducting interviews in combination with archival research. As a lecturer I have taught courses on political conflict, genocide, decolonization and modernity.
My PhD project focusses on political mobilization in Iraq under the Baath goverement and the organizing function of individualized small-scale resistance based on a case-study of the 1991 uprising in Iraq. This project starts from the hypothesis that compared to other organizing frameworks like tribal or religious institutions, individual small-scale political contestation is crucial to form networks and infrastructures necessary for revolutionary uprisings. While there is abundant research on how social movements in liberal democratic societies can mobilize their constituencies, we know relatively little about how social movements functioned, existed or mobilized under authoritarian governments, often with the assumption that politics is fully restricted in countries such as Baathist Iraq. Instead of organizing political activism, many people seem to have relied on small acts of resistance such as feigned compliance, desertion, or simply telling a few jokes at the expense of the governement. Combining bottom-up and top-down perspectives, this project studies the 1991 uprising through oral history interviews with eyewitnesses that will be triangulated with documents preserved in the recently opened (2010) Iraqi state archives. It will clarify the role of small-scale resistance with regard to the origins, causes and outcomes of one of the 1991 uprising.