Clearinghouse Resource


The Iraqis: Their History and Culture


Robson, Barbara


Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) & The Refugee Service Center, U.S. Department of State

Source Information (Journal Title, Date, Length)

1995, pages

Description of Resource

Provides an introduction to the people, history, and culture of Iraq for community service providers assisting refugees in the United States. This report covers: (1) the geography of Iraq and the importance of its oil resources; (2) the origins of its people, including the Iraqi Arabs, Ma'dan, Kurds, and Assyrians; (3) social structures and relationships, including racial enmities between Arabs and Kurds and tensions between Sunnites and Shi'ites; (4) Iraq's rich history, spanning life in the Fertile Crescent, Islamic and then Ottoman rule, the British Protectorate, independence, World War II and the Cold War, the rise of the Ba'ath Party, the Iran-Iraq War, and the invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath, including Kurdish and Sh'ite rebellions; (5) religion as a powerful social force; (6) everyday life, including the role of the extended family, characteristics of the household, acceptance of polygamy, treatment of women, personal and family honor, love and marriage, and public and private behavior; (7) cultural differences, including attitudes about alcohol, food, cross-gender relations, hospitality, religious observance, and dress; (8) pronunciation, word and sentence structure, and phrases of Iraqi Arabic, a dialect of the Arabic language; and (9) the difficulties Iraqis encounter in learning English.