Dr Nelida Fuccaro

Oil and urbanism in Iraq and Persian Gulf in the 20th century

Building on recent work on the Persian Gulf and focussing on Iraqi cities, this research investigates forms, actors and spaces of public violence in relation to the development of the oil industry and urbanisation in the period of the monarchy (1920-1958). In analysing the dynamics of specific violent events and the institutional and structural elements of violence that triggered them, this study wishes to provide a nuanced understanding of violence as a multi-layered urban phenomenon from the perspective of the Iraq Petroleum Company, the Iraqi government and urban crowds. On the one hand, this sub-project traces elements of structural violence embedded in the oil industry as a capitalist and semi-colonial enterprise and explores its interaction with the institutions of urban security controlled by the Iraqi administration.  On the other, key episodes of ethnic, sectarian and class conflict and their urban settings are studied as evidence of how expanding cities and suburban areas became an integral part of a new landscape of oil development.