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Social Anthropology

Lana Askari

Thesis title - “You cannot make a plan because new things keep happening”: Navigating Uncertain Futures in Iraqi Kurdistan


  • Dr Andrew Irving
  • Dr Michelle Obeid


  • BA in Liberal Arts & Sciences, University College Utrecht, Utrecht University, 2011
  • MPhil in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 2012
  • MA in Visual Anthropology, Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester, 2014
  • PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology with Visual Media, University of Manchester, 2018 (est) 

PhD research

My research focuses on how people living in the de facto state of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan imagine, plan and (re) negotiate their futures by exploring urban planning projects in the city of Sulaimani.

After 2003, the maturation of the KRG introduced new political and economic possibilities and was often hailed as “the other Iraq”. However, recent clashes with the Islamic State (DA’ESH) and dropping oil prices have destabilized this “state in the making’ into one in “crisis”. Engaging with infrastructural planning developments part of the Sulaimani city urban master plan, I attempt to draw out how people’s future imaginaries relate to potential Kurdish independence during precarious times.

This project engages with issues of social navigation, temporality, crisis, migration, planning, infrastructure and the state in anthropology, as well as exploring new ways of using visual methodologies through the documentary film in researching prospective dimensions of life. 

Research interests

  • Crisis
  • Migration
  • Planning and Infrastructure
  • Anthropology of Time
  • Political anthropology
  • Visual anthropology
  • Ethnographic documentary film
  • Nationalism
  • Kurdistan region
  • Middle East


  • Bridge to Kobane. Dir. Lana Askari. Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. 2016. Future Factory. Dir. Lana Askari. Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. 2018.
  • Askari, Lana. "Filming family and negotiating return in making Haraka Baraka: Movement is a blessing." Kurdish Studies 3.2 (2015): 192-208.
  • Haraka Baraka. Dir. Lana Askari. Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. 2014.

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