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Accepted Paper:

"Our land is solid gold!" Land as territory and resource in the Kurdistan region of Iraq  
Katharina Lange (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient)

Paper short abstract:

In Iraq's Kurdistan Region, land is a symbol for nationalist projections, but also a contested material resource, driving future-oriented practices. The juxtaposition of productive, extractive, and speculative valuations of land provides an idiom to speak of responsibility, complicity & corruption.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing from fieldwork in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq between 2013 and 2018, I explore the ways in which productive, extractive, and speculative valorizations of land engage different future-oriented scales and rhythms. Since 2003, the future-oriented potentiality of Kurdish territory with its rich natural reserves has significantly featured in local political rhetoric to mobilize popular support for the Kurdish Regional Government in its antagonistic relation with Baghdad. In this region, marked by conflict and displacement, land in its material as well as immaterial dimensions serves as a powerful if polyvalent symbol for nationalist projections. As territory, it is imagined as site of ancestral lives (and violent death) and claimed as home for future generations, thus bridging between past, present and future. Yet as a contested material resource, land also makes fissures and tensions within the imagined national whole and its projected future visible: calculating time from harvest to harvest, envisaging it in terms of lifecycles and generational sequence, or measuring in geological eons, different future-oriented uses of land may contrast and be set against each other. When severe political and economic crisis hit the region in 2014, interlocutors began to question why the promises of a brighter future could not be realized, (self)critically pointing to self-interested, short-sighted extractivist and speculative practices sitting at odds with more productive or sustainable uses of land.Engaging with the concept of 'resource nationalism', the paper asks how responsibility, complicity and corruption in national future-making are allocated or denied through different ways of valuing land.

Panel Speak11
Temporalizing utopia: interrogating nationalisms in the past and future
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -