Between 1949 and 1973 most of the Jews of Mesopotamia left Iraq, after more than 2200 years in this region, where their ancestors had been living since the Babylonian Exile. Some of the Jewish refugee's became well-known writers: e.g. Sami Michael, Eli Amir, Samir Naqqash, Mona Yahia, Nissim Rejwan, Shimon Ballas and Naïm Kattan. Today Iraqi-Jewish writers are spread over several continents, living in Israel, Canada, Germany or Northern America. They write either in Arabic, Hebrew, French or English, but many of their literary works have been translated into (other) European languages, also into German. This research project is very innovative, dealing with almost completely unexplored literary works that are of great value and relevance. In Europe not a single comprehensive study has been published on the Iraqi-Jewish literature so far. It is very important that the unique cultural heritage of the Mesopotamian Jewry does not fall into oblivion. Within this research project the literary works of eight important Iraqi-Jewish writers will be analyzed departing from their thematic and narrative characteristics. The different views on persecution, expulsion, immigration and integration will be discussed as well as the self-concepts and the view(s) of Jews (from Europe or Arabic countries) and Arabs. Also the use of metaphors and of rhetorical strategies will be commented on. The research-team includes specialists on German-Jewish literature (Heidy Margrit MÜLLER, VUB), modern Hebrew literature (Anat FEINBERG, Hochschule für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg) and Mesopotamia (including the Arabic dialects spoken by Jews in Baghdad and applied in some novels): Kamal KOLO (VUB). The Flemish Academy decided to sponsor this project for 4 months (01.10.2009-31.01.2010).
Effective start/end date1/10/0931/01/11

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Languages and literary studies
  • Philosophy, ethics and religious studies

    Research areas

  • Autoren irakisch-jüdischer Herkunft, Juden aus dem Irak, Literatur von Schriftstellern aus dem Irak, Migration, Jüdische Minderheiten, Samir Naqqash, Nissim Rejwan, Authors of Jewish origine, Mona Yahia, Eli Amir, Shimon Ballas, Iraqi Jews, Sami Michael

ID: 3317461