Sunni-Shii Relations in the Middle East (SSRIME)


Marie-Curie Global Fellowship (36 months, 2021-2024)

Ca’ Foscari University and Stanford University

Dr Toby Matthiesen


This research project will investigate Sunni-Shii relations in the modern Middle East, focussing on Iraq. As the location of the original Sunni-Shii split, home to large Sunni and Shii communities, Shii holy sites and the seats of the Shii clerical leadership, it is of tremendous symbolic and strategic relevance, and affects Sunni-Shii relations elsewhere. SSRIME seeks to combine insights from the Baath Party archives, Arabic-language publications, as well as oral history, to study the impact of Baath Party rule (1968-2003) and the invasion of 2003 on Sunni-Shii relations. SSRIME seeks to go beyond binary representations of the Baath regime as a “Sunni” regime, and the post-2003 period as one in which Shii rule asserted itself. Rather, it will look at the complicated and shifting relations of the Baath regime with members of non-Sunni religious communities, and the similarly contested nature of post-2003 Iraqi politics. The project seeks to make major contributions to Middle East and Comparative Politics, as well as to International History.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 888063.