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2/17/2016 - Iraq: Creation of Colonialism Lecture Series with Professor Mark Albertson

MEDIA RELEASE, February 17, 2016, Southbury, CT

Iraq: Creation of Colonialism Lecture Series with Professor Mark Albertson

The Southbury Public Library will host Professor Mark Alberton for a five-part lecture series on Iraq. The series will take place on Tuesdays beginning Tuesday, March 15 through Tuesday, April 12th. All lectures will take place in the Kingsley room from 2-4pm.

Iraq as a modern nation among the family of nations turned 83 years old on October 2015. It joined the League of Nations in 1932, but was hardly sovereign. For this tortured nation is the product of the infamous Sykes/Picot Agreement of 1916, where the British and French forged the borders of modern Iraq. This series will trace the evolution of modern Iraq from the arrival of the British East India Company in 1763, to the departure of American forces in 2011, which helped to create a void which the Islamic State is attempting to fill.

Tuesday, March 15th: British Iraq, Part I
This first part traces British infiltration into and eventual aggrandizement of this area that will be later known as Iraq. Beginning in 1763 with the British East India Company, a roster of events will be traced, events which will change the course of history: The Lansdowne Declaration, 1903; the Damascus Protocol, 1914; the Sykes/Picot Agreement, 1916; the Balfour Declaration, 1917; San Remo Conference, 1920; the Treaty of Sevres, 1920 and the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923. All of which will reveal the sordid and perfidious betrayal of the Arabs by the colonial powers.

Tuesday, March 22nd: British Iraq, Part II
Part II will focus on the consolidation of British power in Iraq and the Middle East, followed by the eventual demise of British control from 1920 to the advent of Saddam. Attention will be paid to how Britain maintained its colonial grasp even after Iraq became a “sovereign” nation in 1932. Learn how the British wielded a new weapon called the airplane to subdue recalcitrant populations - Somaliland, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Northwest Frontier Province in India (part of Pakistan today). Included will be the events leading up to the 1958 Iraqi Revolution and the eviction of the British. And of course, looming large in the background is the singular most important resource that will come to decide the fate of empires in the 20th century, a resource which Iraq has in abundance, a resource that has been both a blessing and a curse . . . oil.

Tuesday, March 29th: Al-Nahda
We interrupt our progression to delve into a misunderstood phenomenon - Arab Nationalism. Here we will learn how Napoleon and the French Revolution helped to set the stage for al-Nahda (Renaissance), the awakening of Arab Nationalism which not only helped to bring down the decaying Ottoman Empire, but continues to search for its place in the sun in the world of the 21st century. Included will be a discussion of Arab Socialism.

Tuesday, April 5th: Saddam
We will follow Iraq as it was ruled by this Arab Joseph Stalin. From 1979 when he took power, to the invasion of Iraq by American and British forces on March 19, 2003. We will not only see Saddam as a brutal dictator, but also as an emancipator, as evidenced by his support for the greater participation of women in Iraqi society and education for the masses. And all against a backdrop which features such events as the Iran-Iraq War; the Persian Gulf War; the end of the Cold War and the crushing sanctions of the 1990s.

Tuesday, April 12th: American Iraq
This lecture will focus on America’s attack on Iraq, which ended Saddam’s tyrannical rule. A discussion of America and the importance of oil as a backdrop to the Iraqi adventure will be discussed. How the collapse of the Soviet Union spurred America to take a more unilateral role in conducting foreign policy and how this has affected its role in Iraq.

Mark Albertson is the historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine; and, has been a long time member of the United States Naval Institute. Mark has authored several books including, USS Connecticut: Constitution State Battleship, They'll Have to Follow You! The Triumph of the Great White Fleet and On History: A Treatise. He is at work on a fourth book, Sky Soldiers: The Saga of Army Aviation.

In addition, Mark teaches history at Norwalk Community College. He also teaches for the Lifetime Learners Institute at Norwalk Community College. In May 2005, Mark was presented with a General Assembly Citation by both houses of Congress in Hartford for his efforts in commemorating the centennial of battleship Connecticut. Mark is an avid speaker, traveling our state presenting a variety of historical topics in a variety of venues. Mark has appeared on radio and television.

Registration is required. Please contact the library at 203-262-0626 ext. 130.

This series is sponsored by the Friends of the Southbury Public Library.


Contact: Katherine Mostacero
Reference Librarian
Southbury Public Library
203-262-0626 ext. 131