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The Question of Identity: Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender

Islamic Period:  The Concept of Ethnicity

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Traditional Flute Player from Iraq

Traditional Flute Player from Iraq

Following the Allied invasion of Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein, the country has appeared at various points to be on the edge of disintegration. The Coalition Provisional Authority’s early understanding of a country neatly divisible into ethnic and sectarian groupings (Kurd, Sunni, and Shi’a) entrenched divisions in the occupation of the country that, previously, had often been fluid. Efforts to integrate the country around signs of a shared national identity have, among many other things, involved the deployment of symbolic practices such as music and dance. This is a picture of a mizmar (flute) player at the National Unity Performing and Visual Arts Academy of Iraq in 2007.

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