The Use and Abuse of History the images of the enemy in Iraq historiography

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Botan T. Maghdid


This research attempts to explore the dynamic relationships between writing the ancient history of Iraq and political discourse, focusing on academic publications in Iraq between 2003 and 2014. These publications created images of the enemy through transhistorical narratives, providing "evidence from the past" to justify aggression against certain communities and neighbouring countries. The study uses Stein's definition of enemy images and Ofer Zur's model of creating enemy images to examine the role of Iraqi historiography in shaping political discourse.

The research argues that the peaceful coexistence between Iraqi communities depends not only on political actors but also on the response of the academic community to power. By addressing distorted historical images of "Others," Iraqi historians can play a role in promoting peaceful coexistence between communities. The study highlights the importance of challenging politically motivated enemification of certain communities, which lack evidence from history.

The research reveals a strong connection between the representations of the Persian, Jews, and Christians by the Baʿthist regime and those found in Iraqi academic publications after the regime's collapse. The study highlights the need for Iraqi historians to re-examine their relationship with power and to avoid disseminating politically motivated narratives that distort historical facts.

Thus, this research emphasizes the importance of examining the role of historical narratives in shaping political discourse and promoting peaceful coexistence between communities. Iraqi historians have a crucial role to play in challenging distorted historical images of "Others" and promoting a more accurate and inclusive understanding of history.



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How to Cite
Maghdid, B. T. (2023) “The Use and Abuse of History: the images of the enemy in Iraq historiography”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(1), pp. 13-21. doi: 10.14500/kujhss.v6n1y2023.pp13-21.
Author Biography

Botan T. Maghdid, History Department, Faculty of Arts, Soran University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.

Mr. Maghdid is an Iraqi scholar from Erbil. He obtained his Bachelor's and
Master's degrees in history from Salahaddin University - Erbil in 2003 and 2009,
respectively. In 2018, he earned a PhD from the University of Leicester, UK. He has
actively participated in numerous academic conferences on Iraqi history in: Iraq, the
UK, and the USA. His main focus is examining how the interrelationships between
history and power have shaped the modern Iraqi identity.



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