Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Samira Haj

Subject Categories

Cultural History | Islamic Studies | Islamic World and Near East History | Military History | Political History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social History


Iraq, Sectarianism, Violence, War, Nationalism, Necropolitics, Imperialism, Colonialism, Resistance, Disaster Capitalism, Identity, Nation-States, Occupation


The violence systematically deployed upon the prosperous nation of Iraq in 2003 was directly influenced by the Shock and Awe doctrine set forth by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in their 1996 book Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance. The experimental methods of warfare and violence outlined in the text describe methods for the systematic destruction of every major aspect of a nation and society, militarily, economically, and socially. In the wake of the US Invasion of Iraq, we saw the direct implementation of these methods by the occupation forces, setting off a brutal cycle of violence that is still raging today. This paper will attempt to understand the lineage of this violence, and how it manifested itself in sectarian civil war and eventually the brutality of the Islamic State. In addition, it will seek to understand this violence through the lens of nationalism, and the inherent violence in the concept of the nation-state, along with the concept of violence not as a state of exception but as a constant in modern society.