Contact Information

Kanan Makiya
Heller 363
(781) 736-2967

Additional information:
Brandeis University
Faculty Guide

Kanan Makiya


Kanan Makiya

Kanan Makiya is the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University. Born in Baghdad, he left Iraq to study architecture at M.I.T, later joining Makiya Associates to design and build projects in the Middle East. In 1981, he left the practice of architecture and began to write a book about Iraq. Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq (1989), became a best-seller after Saddam Husain's invasion of Kuwait. Makiya's next book, The Monument (1991), is an essay on the aesthetics of power and kitsch. Both Republic of Fear and The Monument were written under the pseudonym, Samir al-Khalil. Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World (1993), was published under Makiya's own name. It was awarded The Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on international relations published in English in 1993. In the year 2000 he published The Rock: A Seventh-Century Tale of Jerusalem, a work of historical fiction that tells the story of the building of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Along with these books, Makiya has written for The Independent, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement and The Times. Makiya has been profiled in many books and publications including The New Yorker (Jan 6, 1992) and The New York Times Magazine (Oct.7, 2007). He has collaborated on several films for television, the most known of which exposed for the first time the 1988 campaign of mass murder in northern Iraq known as the Anfal. The film, originally aired in January 1992 on the BBC, was shown by Frontline in the U.S. under the title 'Saddam's Killing Fields,' and received the Edward R. Morrow Award For Best Television Documentary On Foreign Affairs for 1992. Professor Makiya's books are available in many languages including Arabic, French, Turkish and Spanish. In 2003 he founded the Iraq Memory Foundation, a NGO based in Baghdad and the US dedicated to issues of remembrance, violence and identity formation. The Memory Foundation has collected and digitized nearly 10 million pages of Ba'th era documents and has been supported by both the Iraqi and US Governments and well as many foundations.

Selected Publications 

The Rock cover