Shadow and Light : Solidarity and Connection with Iraqi Academics

Event details

September 13 - December 15


Hatcher North Lobby Cases, Hatcher Library North

Event typeExhibit

This exhibit incorporates a selection of work from the Shadow and Light project, an initiative memorializing Iraqi academics assassinated between 2003-2013, a timeframe which roughly parallels the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. 

Participants from around the world — including Iraqis in diaspora — contributed photographs and personal statements responding to the loss of a particular Iraqi academic listed by the Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (La Campaña Estatal contra la Ocupación y por la Soberanía de Iraq / IraqSolidaridad 2005-2013). 

The project emerges from a broader effort undertaken by Iraqis and allies to document the assault on Iraqi scholars, intellectuals, and cultural institutions which flared in the wake of the destruction and division wrought by the US-led invasion and occupation. Death threats and assassinations, politically motivated sectarian violence, rampant corruption, and de-Ba’athification policies only further destabilized an educational system already heaving under the devastation of wars, authoritarian regimes, and harsh economic sanctions.

This exhibit invites solidarity with the academics targeted, but also deeper connection with their experiences and the richness of Iraqi academic life through their written legacies and the testimonies of surviving academics, many of whom were driven into exile.

This exhibit in the north lobby is available during Hatcher Library hours.

A companion online exhibit, Tracing Iraqi Artists: From Shadow to Light, explores modern Iraqi struggle and resistance through contemporary visual art and connection to Iraqi artists and educators. The curators of the online exhibit, 2023 Michigan Library Scholars Zainab Hakim and Serena Safawi, hope to center surviving Iraqi artists as they explore their national and artistic identities and respond to the cycles of violence caused by the Iran-Iraq war, sanctions, and occupation.

Photograph of winged bull statues in the National Museum of Iraq by Hassan Abdulrazzak, Iraqi-British playwright, memorializing Essam Sharif Mohammed (PhD History) of the University of Baghdad. Courtesy of the Shadow and Light project.


Library contact

Evyn Kropf ·

Library events are free and open to the public, and we are committed to making them accessible to attendees. If you anticipate needing accommodations to participate, please notify the listed contact with as much notice as possible.