University of Chicago
Selma Ruben Fellowship

Research Topic

Rediscovering Iraq: Jewish Travels in Modern Babylon, 1921-1951


Orit Bashkin is a professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. A historian working on the intellectual, social, and cultural history of the modern Middle East, she teaches courses on nationalism, colonialism and postcolonialism in the Middle East, on modern Islamic civilization, and on Israeli history. Her fields of expertise include Iraqi history and culture, Arab-Jewish history, Arab intellectual history, and Israeli history.

Bashkin earned her PhD in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University. She has previously been a fellow at the Katz Center, and has also held fellowships at the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education and at the Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Selected publications

  • Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel (Stanford University Press, 2017)
  • New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2012)



Delving into the meaning of modernity beyond the European, American, and Israeli contexts, looking instead to North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central and South Asia.


Applying an interdisciplinary approach to the richness and diversity of travel writing.