Sunday, March 11, 2007

Panel discussion on Iraq - Saturday, March 17, 2007 (Eastern Sociological Society)

For those of you who are in the Philadelphia area or who know people within striking distance of Philadelphia, I want to announce a panel discussion on
Iraq since 2003: What's gone wrong? What's gone right? What next?
that will take place here on Saturday, March 17 from 1:45-3:15 p.m.. This session is part of the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, but anyone interested in the subject--and who isn't?--is welcome to attend. Speaking with all due modesty as the organizer of this discussion, I expect it to be unusually substantial, illuminating, lively (another way to say argumentative), and thought-provoking.
Eastern Sociological Society
2007 Annual Meeting
Sheraton Philadelphia City Center
17th & Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Session #209: Saturday, March 17 | 1:45 PM - 3:15
(Philadelphia Ballroom North - Mezzanine Level)

Iraq since 2003: What's gone wrong? What's gone right? What next?

Presider & Organizer: Jeff Weintraub, University of Pennsylvania

Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania
Brendan O'Leary, University of Pennsylvania
Trudy Rubin, Foreign Affairs Columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer

The three speakers--Trudy Rubin, Brendan O'Leary, and Ian Lustick--are all people with exceptional expertise and insight regarding Middle Eastern society & politics who have devoted a lot of serious thought and genuine concern to Iraq and the issues it raises (for Iraqis as well as Americans and others). They will offer contrasting assessments of developments in Iraq since the overthrow of the Ba'ath regime in 2003 and will consider prospects and possible options for the future. These analyses and recommendations will be grounded in socially and historically informed understandings of Iraq itself--including the structure and dynamics of ethnic and sectarian identities and conflicts, the historical formation and legacies of state-society relations in Iraq, and the competing projects of different political forces and ethno-religious communities--while also placing Iraqi developments and dilemmas within larger regional and geopolitical contexts.

Ian Lustick and Brendan O'Leary are highly regarded scholars of comparative politics, nationalism, state-building, ethnic conflict, and related matters at the University of Pennsylvania (O'Leary also happens to be a constitutional adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraqi Kurdistan), and Trudy Rubin is a widely read and highly respected foreign affairs columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. But these specific institutional and disciplinary affiliations are of secondary significance. This panel discussion should serve as a contribution to political sociology and as a venture in public sociology that integrates informed socio-political analysis with consideration of urgent practical concerns.

Even if you can't come yourself, please pass along this notice to anyone else who you think would be interested.

Yours for informed public discourse,
Jeff Weintraub