National Archives at Kansas City

Dr. Orit Bashkin to Discuss -New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq-

Press Release: June 11, 2015

National Archives at Kansas City

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage Exhibition Speaker Series

Dr. Orit Bashkin to Discuss New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City (MO)… On Wednesday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m., the National Archives and Midwest Center for Holocaust Education will host Dr. Orit Bashkin for a discussion of her book titled New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq. Bashkin’s lecture will be held at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, 100 West 26th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

A free light reception and exhibit viewing will precede this lecture from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the National Archives, 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

Although Iraqi Jews saw themselves as Iraqi patriots, their community - which had existed in Iraq for more than 2,500 years - was displaced following the establishment of the state of Israel. New Babylonians, by historian Orit Bashkin, chronicles the lives of these Jews, their urban Arab culture, and their hopes for a democratic nation-state. It studies their ideas about Judaism, Islam, secularism, modernity, and reform, focusing on Iraqi Jews who internalized narratives of Arab and Iraqi nationalism and on those who turned to communism in the 1940s.

Reservations are requested for this free program by calling 816-268-8010 or emailing Requests for ADA accommodations must be submitted five business days prior to events.

About the Speaker

Orit Bashkin received her docterate from Princeton University and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tel Aviv University. She is now a professor of modern Arab history at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her publications include 25 book chapters and articles on the history of Arab-Jews in Iraq, on Iraqi history and on Arabic literature. She has also edited a book, Sculpturing Culture in Egypt with Israel Gershoni and Liat Kozma, which included translations into Hebrew of seminal works by Egyptian intellectuals. She is the author of The Other Iraq – Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq and New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq.

About the Iraqi Jewish Heritage Exhibit and Speaker Series

This program is offered in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and is a part of the Wednesday Evening Speaker Series presented in conjunction with the exhibit Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. The exhibition was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, with generous support from the U.S. Department of State. This free exhibition is available for viewing, Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. through August 15, 2015. Group tours are available. For more information call 816-268-8013 or email

Kansas City sponsors include the Oppenstein Brothers Foundation; Sosland Foundation; Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, United Missouri Bank, Trustee; Sprint Foundation; Annette & Sam & Jack Swirnberg Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; J-Lead, Flo Harris Supporting Foundation and the Earl J. and Leona K. Tranin Special Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Harry Portman Charitable Trust, United Missouri Bank, Trustee; with additional support from the Jewish Art Fund.

The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE) was founded in 1993 by Holocaust survivors. Its mission is to teach the history and lessons of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance, and genocide. MCHE honors local survivors and their experiences by recording and communicating their stories to every generation. To learn more, visit

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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LPM/LE-KC 2015-016