The Hoover Institution Library & Archives hosted a two-day conference, “A Decade of Research Using Archives of Ba‘thist Iraq: What We Now Know,” on August 17–18, 2023, which marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Organized by political scientists Lisa Blaydes (Stanford) and Samuel Helfont (Naval War College), with the support of Hoover Institution Library & Archives curators Jean Cannon and Haidar Hadi, the conference brought together more than 30 leading scholars of the history of Iraq and American foreign policy who have worked with the Iraqi Ba‘th Party records held at the Hoover Institution or the formerly publicly available documents of the Conflict Records Research Center. Participants also included Hoover Senior Fellows Stephen Kotkin, H.R. McMaster, John B. Taylor, and Russell A. Berman.
The papers presented investigate how the availability of such unprecedented archives has changed the historiography and social science on Ba‘thist Iraq. Participants addressed questions such as: What do we know now that we did not or could not have known without access to Iraqi records? Were former assumptions about Iraq confirmed or negated? Did new questions emerge based on archival research? And what are the limitations of working with such records? A selection of the papers presented at the conference will be published in a volume co-edited by Blaydes and Helfont for Stanford University Press in the Stanford–Hoover Series on Authoritarianism.