Anmar Jerjees ‘18 presents photo series of displaced persons in Iraq

Erin Davenport-

Anmar Jerjees ’18 presents his Spike Grant research in the Hamilton W. McKay Atrium of the Wall Academic Building
Photo by Jane Campbell

Anmar Jerjees ‘18 opened up his Spike Grant research presentation in the Hamilton W. McKay Atrium with an exciting announcement: “I don’t know if y’all know this, but I’m actually the first student to give a presentation in this space” Jerjees said to loud cheers to the crowd.

The atrium was standing room only, with many students in the Humanities program, members of the Questbridge Scholars Network, as well as Jerjees’s friends and family packing the space.

Anmar Jerjees ’18 points out an image to the assembled crowd
Photo by Jane Campbell ’18

Jerjees reflects: “it honestly exceeded my expectations. I walked in and I thought I’d be tense or have more stress and nervousness but as soon as I got there I felt really comfortable, mostly because since I knew everyone I felt support not critique.”

Anmar Jerjees ’18 poses after the presentation with some of his closest friends
Photo by Jane Campbell

Jerjees’s project was a photo series that reflected life in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps in Erbil, Iraq.

Not only was Jerjees able to use the trip, which was funded by Davidson Arts and Creative Engagement (DACE), to explore his identity as an Iraqi-American, he also was able to achieve his goal of providing alternative narration to the typically tragedy-porn heavy depictions of life in the Middle East. Jerjees was able to speak a local dialect of Arabic, which helped him to conduct the interviews that accompanied his photo series.

Anmar Jerjees ’18 poses with his family, who immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq
Photo by Jane Campbell

His project explores campzenship, a phenomenon originally defined by Nando Sigona that redefines spaces like refugee camps that are normally thought of as transitional as more permanent, as new generations are born and grow up in (semi-permanent) camps.

Jerjees noted that his idea was cultivated in a conversation with Davidson alumnus Colin Bye ‘17, who encouraged him to take advantage of funding opportunities to make his project a reality.

Jerjees also noted that a class taken in Spring 2017 with Dr. Natalie Deckard, Refugees, Migrants, and the Stateless, influenced and informed his work.

Anmar Jerjees is the recipient of the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, one of only seven Davidson students to receive this honor in the past twenty-five years. He is involved in a number of campus activist groups.