Zainab Saleh received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University. She earned a B.A. in English Literature and Language from Baghdad University and a B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology at the American University of Beirut. Zainab was a Sultan Postdoctoral Fellow in Arab Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in Spring 2011.
Based on two years of fieldwork in London, Zainab's research is an ethnographic study of the Iraqi diasporic community in the UK. She approaches the formation of the community in light of the utopian visions of the past and their translation into exile and tragedies in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Through the use of life history with Iraqi exiles from different socioeconomic backgrounds, she documents the persecution suffered under Saddam Hussein's regime since the late 1970s; life in exile in London; relationships among members of the diasporic Iraqi community therein; and the ways in which those in exile reconfigure the past in relation to the political present. In addition, she examines the heightened salience of sectarianism among Iraqis in exile and in Iraq since the 1990s. She shows how sectarianism was employed by the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime in the UK, becoming further institutionalized after the fall of the regime in 2003 with the support of the US Administration.
In 2011-2012, Zainab participated in the Center's Faculty Humanities Seminar "Changing Technologies of Power in the Entrepreneurial Age" while she revised her dissertation, entitled "Diminishing Returns: An Anthropological Study of Iraqis in the UK," for publication. Her Mellon Symposium, "Shades of Occupation: Iraq After 10 Years" was held Friday, March 29th, 2013. Her Fall 2012 course was Gender & Sexuality in the Middle East. For Spring 2013, she taught "Memory, History, Anthropology".