Ventricles S1 E6: Imagining Iraq

What will Iraq be like, 100 years in the future? How are Muslim women imagined in that future? In this episode, Professor Ahmed Ragab explores literary imaginaries of the future of the Middle East. He starts by discussing the story, Kahramana, from the recent short-story collection edited by Hassan Blasim, Iraq +100. He compares the story of Kahramana to the superhero, Dust from Marvel comics, to demonstrate how writers based in Iraq navigate and subvert the expectations of Western audiences.

Audio credits: Thanks as always to The Overseas Ensemble, a collaboration between composer Paed Conca and Sarigama, for use of their music

Image credits: Sara Alfaqeeh.


Ragab, Ahmed. Eliminate the Muslim: Timeplay in the making of postcolonial future ethnoreligious identities” Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, Spring 2018

Blasim, Hassan. “Iraq + 100.” Tom Doherty Associates (Tor), 2016

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Is the Post-in Postmodernism the Post-in Postcolonial?” Critical Inquiry, vol. 17, no. 2, 1991, pp. 336-357.

Arjana, Sophia Rose. Veiled Superheroes : Islam, Feminism, and Popular Culture. 2018

Csicsery-Ronay Jr, Istvan. “Dis-Imagined Communities: Science Fiction and the Future of Nations.” Science fiction, vol. 215, 2002, p. 37.

Dar, Jehanzeb. “Holy Islamophobia, Batman! Demonization of Muslims and Arabs in Mainstream American Comic Books.” Counterpoints, vol. 346, 2010, pp. 99-110.

Davis, Julie and Robert Westerfelhaus. “Finding a Place for a Muslimah Heroine in the Post-9/11 Marvel Universe: New X-Men’s Dust.” Feminist Media Studies, vol. 13, no. 5, 2013, pp. 800-809.