Kali Rubaii

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Purdue U.

Grant number

Gr. 10181

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Rubaii, Kali (Purdue U.) "Counter-resurgency: Iraq’s Ecologies of Coercion"

In Iraq, the War on Terror includes not only the initial shock of war, but also the incapacitation of recovery from that shock through subtle modes of coercion that curtail popular uprising by eroding social and physical terrains. This book pivots attention to the overlooked role of militarism in environmental crises by demonstrating how the War on Terror is not only a set of military doctrines, but also a landscape-altering project that manifests chronic anthropogenic hazard that continues in Iraq, today. In examining the reciprocal dynamic between environmental manipulation, displacement, and militarism, this book works through five modes of coercion: preemption, divide-and-conquer, counter-resurgency, suspense, and abstraction. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among internally displaced farmers moving between Anbar and Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014 and 2015, Counter-resurgency depicts how people traverse war-pocked landscapes in spite of these coercive modes: how they seek alternative methods of fertilizing trees and supplementing soil, and how they interface with military waste like bomb fragments and military burn-pits. This ethnography foregrounds the theories of Iraqi farmers as they gradually regenerate resurgent political capacity. By taking a ground-up approach to militarism, Counter-resurgency locates resurgent possibilities in the relationships between farmer and seed, bread and clay, houses and culture.