Film Screening: Letters from Baghdad


ILC Room 130
1500 E University Blvd
85721 Tucson , AZ


Fri, 10/18/2019 - 7:00pm to Wed, 03/29/2023 - 5:57pm


Part of the Fall 2019 Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series, and International Archaeology Day 2019

Pearce Paul Creaseman, Associate Professor and Director of the Egyptian Expedition, The University of Arizona

Pearce Paul Creasman will give a short contextual talk called “Contextualizing the Life of Gertrude Bell” at 7pm, followed by the film screening and a Q&A session.

Abstract: An explorer, archaeologist, linguist, and reluctant politician, Gertrude Bell was an intrepid character in the early 20th century saga that saw the formation of Iraq, Jordan, and much of the Middle East as we know it today. This short talk intends to introduce and provide the context for the portions of Bell’s life spent in and in service of the people of the Middle East. Bell’s curiosity and unique approach to people and the world around her provided a perspective that was invaluable to western intervention in the region, and often heeded as 'the' expert voice.

About the film: Letters from Baghdad is the story of a true original—Gertrude Bell—sometimes called the “female” Lawrence of Arabia. Voiced and executive produced by Academy award winning actor Tilda Swinton, the documentary tells the dramatic story of this British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. Bell traveled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence to help draw the borders of Iraq after WWI. Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell’s extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian Desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power.…It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq. The film takes us into a past that is eerily current.


Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman is associate professor and director of the Egyptian Expedition at the University of Arizona. His research interests include the study human and environment interactions, maritime archaeology, dendroarchaeology, and Egyptian/Sudanese archaeology. He has worked in the Middle East for more than 15 years. In recognition of his research, Prof. Creasman has been recognized as a fellow of such organizations as The Explorer's Club, the Royal Geographical Society, and the Linnean Society.