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Caecilia Pieri


New Texts Out Now: Caecilia Pieri, Bagdad. La construction d'une capitale moderne, 1914-1960

[Cover of Caecilia Pieri,

Caecilia Pieri, Bagdad. La construction d'une capitale moderne, 1914-1960. Beyrouth : Presses de l’Ifpo, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Caecilia Pieri (CP): Having seized an opportunity to go to Baghdad in June 2003,[1] I unexpectedly discovered an interesting modern vernacular landscape, which remains important to this day—in terms of quality and, still today, in terms of quantity. Instead of the black hole of information and of desolation ...

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Can T-Wall Murals Really Beautify the Fragmented Baghdad?

Mural in front of the Iraqi Ministry of Public Works. Image by C. Pieri, April 2013.

Since April 2007, Baghdad has been experiencing a walling strategy designed by the US-led Multi-National Forces (MNF) occupying Iraq then. Between 2005 and 2008, kidnappings, assassinations and population displacements became the main tactics used by the Sunni insurgency and Shiite militias in their struggle to delimit newly homogenized areas over which they could gain spatial control and power. The MNF justified their strategy of surrounding some neighborhoods with concrete ...

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Caecilia Pieri


Caecilia Pieri currently serves as Head of the Urban Observatory at the French Institute of the Near-East (IFPO), Beirut, where she brings a comparative approach to the urban field of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern studies in the field of urban history and urban anthropology. She is particularly concerned with cities in conflict, and the use of heritage as a social marker and tool for politics. She was a scientific editor in the field of architecture, heritage, and urban studies since 1989 in Paris. She then received her PhD at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, on the subject of the urban and architectural modernization of Baghdad, where she has been conducting fieldwork for eleven years. In 2013, she co-organized an international symposium which took place in Baghdad (April 16-18), entitled The architecture of modernity in Baghdad: from Le Corbusier to the Iraqi pioneers. An expert with the UNESCO (World Heritage) steering committee for the safeguard of urban and architectural modern heritage in the Arab World, she is the author of Baghdad Arts Deco, 1920-1950  (French version 2008, English at American University of Cairo Press, 2011, also translated into Arabic at Al-Mada Press Baghdad, 2009). She is preparing a book based on her PhD: Baghdad. La construction d’une capitale moderne, 1920-1960 (forthcoming Fall 2014, at the Presses de l’Ifpo).