The Occupation of Iraq

April 25, 2017

On February 23, 2017, Zachary Lockman, professor of History at New York University, spoke at Duke University, presenting his new book Field Notes: The Making of Middle East Studies in the United States and discussing the importance of area studies and Middle East studies overall. While at Duke, Lockman also participated in a panel on the depiction of Islam in the West and on modern-day interactions between the Middle East and the United States together with Charles Kurzman of UNC-Chapel Hill and Adam Mestyan of Duke.

In this video, Lockman briefly describes the circumstances surrounding the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and notes a dynamic wherein subject-matter experts warned that it was a bad idea, while those who knew less called them terror apologists and lobbied for the war. From this, Lockman draws a broader lesson applicable to the current fight against ISIS: "In a way we're also defending scholarly expertise and knowledge and the deep long-term engagement that many of us have with different part of this region, and the peoples there, and our efforts to actually be in touch with people in he Middle East and how they see the world, in a way which I think would be very useful to more fully inform debates and discussion of policy in this region in the United States."

Lockman's visit was sponsored by the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies, Jewish Studies, Cultural Anthropology, the Department of History, and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center.