Rather than addressing the dated debate of Iraq's 'artificiality', this article analyses the evolution of the term 'Iraq' and by extension the evolution in frames of self-definition in the years 1914-20. I use three key events (the anti-British jihad of 1914, the Najaf rebellion of
1918 and the rebellion of 1920) and examine the discourse that accompanied the events to analyse the changing categories of self-identification on the mid-Euphrates. A clearly discernible ontological evolution of 'Iraq' in the popular imagination is revealed thereby clarifying and explaining
the rapid rise and adoption of Iraqi nationalism in the early twentieth century.
The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.