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Iran

Musaddiq’s Spectre: On the Recent Declassification of US Documents

[Tanks in the streets of Tehran in 1953. Image via Wilipedia]

Following the 1989 release of the first Iran-related volume of the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, a plethora of books and articles have been written detailing the MI6-CIA coup d’état in Iran on 19 August 1953. The coup resulted in the ouster of the much-celebrated Prime Minister Muhammad Musaddiq, who—to the profound chagrin of United Kingdom—nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (today known as British Petroleum) in March 1951. One might therefore be forgiven for asking why the June 2017 release of a new FRUS volume series, Iran, 1951-1954, should spark so much public and scholarly interest.   The main social networks ...

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Finding Your Way Around Tehran's Public Archives

[Highway view of the National Archives building. Image by author]

Going to archives in Iran—the capital specifically—remains obscure to a great number of PhD students and researchers based outside of the country. Often, senior academics from whom students seek advice have not been to Iran’s archives for many years. In some cases, they have been unable to revisit them for political reasons. Consequently, the curious student is likely to receive very generalized advice before his/her trip. This article is therefore written as an introductory guide that explains the nature of the archives and process of gaining access to them, once a person is already in the country. I shall emphasize the National Library and Archives Organization of Iran ...

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Making History in Iran: Education, Nationalism, and Print Culture

Farzin Vejdani, Making History in Iran: Education, Nationalism, and Print Culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. [This review was first published in the Spring 2017 issue of the Arab Studies Journal. For more information or to subscribe, click here.] Making History in Iran is a much-needed examination of how various social and institutional changes during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries shaped how the people of Iran wrote about, taught, and understood the past. Farzin Vejdani traces the gradual formation of modern historiography in Iran through periods of shifting patronage networks, the expansion of reading publics, and the ...

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Revisiting ‘Foucault in Iran’: A Response

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is the final installment of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] First, I would like to thank SCTIW Review for organizing this symposium. It is a great privilege to read such a comprehensive scrutiny of one’s own work. I know how time consuming this kind of critical engagement with a text is and ...

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Foucault, the Iranian Revolution, and the Politics of Collective Action

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part five of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] In Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi presents a comprehensive overview of Michel Foucault’s writings on the revolutionary wave that swept across Iran, culminating in February 1979 with the ...

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Foucault: Against the Ideology of Enlightenment

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment]

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part three of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] At various points throughout Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s excellent account of Foucault and the Iranian Revolution one finds a term not typically associated with Foucault, that of ideology. This term, much more at home in Marxist social analyses, ...

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Foucault and Iran

[Cover of Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi,

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part one of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] In his remarkable book, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi presents an important analysis of Michel Foucault’s journalistic writings penned for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera during ...

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Media on Media Roundup (February 28)

[Iranian Filmmakers Asghar Farhadi and Shahab Hosseini at

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup looks at several important issues facing the MENA mediascape. Al-Jazeera examines how citizen journalists in Syria are countering regime narratives through the use of drone technology. The polarized nature of the Syrian war has left Arab Twitter users torn over the White Helmets’ recent Oscar win, with some showing support for the group whilst others condemned them as “self-serving terrorists.”   The Twitter-verse was also abuzz regarding a recent Nike advertisement that showcases Arab women in sport, with some users accusing it of flattening the heterogeneity of women’s lives in the region. Scott Roth and Phil Weiss ...

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Where’s My Vote? The US Edition

[Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Photo by Mohammad Kazempour uploaded from Wikimedia Commons]

In June 2009, protests erupted in Tehran and other major Iranian cities following Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s loss in the presidential elections against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mousavi and the other opposition candidates alleged voter fraud and questioned the legitimacy of the Ahmadinejad win. Of course, the term “opposition” here is used loosely as presidential candidates are thoroughly vetted via a process that keeps out anti-establishment candidates. Everyone who makes it to the general election phase has enough credentials to be considered part of Iran’s Islamic revolution, which reached power in 1979 and has ruled ever since. Parallels can be drawn with the US ...

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Interview with Taraneh Hemami

[Source: Bulletin, a Theory of Survival Publication, by Taraneh Hemami, 2015.]

Taraneh Hemami is a San Francisco-based artist and arts educator whose work is known internationally. Born in Tehran, Hemami emigrated to the the United States to attend college in 1978. Roula Seikaly spoke with the artist about the publication entitled Bulletin, its relationship to Hemami’s ongoing collaborative project Theory of Survival, and the potential for archives to influence past, present, and future narratives. Roula Seikaly (RS): Let's talk about Bulletin. It’s form is fascinating. The two essays, the body of the publication itself, is a beautifully visualized timeline of Iranian history set within a larger context of world history, particularly twentieth ...

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Letter to Republic of Iran Calling for Release of Homa Hoodfar

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 1 September 2016 in response to the detainment and deteriorating health of Professor Homa Hoodfar.] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran c/o H.E. Mr. Gholamali Khoshroo Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor New York, NY 10017, USA email: iran@un.int fax: +1 (212) 867-7086 Your Excellency, We write to you on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our grave concern ...

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Critical Readings in Political Economy: Resilience

Sean Yom, From Resilience to Revolution (Columbia, 2015); Suzanne Maloney, Iran’s Political Economy since the Revolution (Cambridge, 2015). Why do governments last? What kind of governments last? Increasingly, studies on the stability of regimes in the Middle East/North Africa region focus on how elites enfold the middle and working classes into socio-political orders. Such enfoldment happens through turning the state into not merely an instrument of violent class rule through extraction, but also part-and-parcel of everyday social reproduction. Sean Yom’s From Resilience to Revolution addresses government resilience and longevity. He builds his study on three ...

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Quick Thoughts: Arang Keshavarzian on Iran’s Presidential Election

[On 19 May 2017 the Islamic Republic of Iran conducted its twelfth presidential election since the monarchy was overthrown in 1979. After a variety of candidates were prevented from participating or withdrew in support of a different candidacy, the election was essentially a contest between President Hassan Rouhani, in office since 2013, and conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi. Jadaliyya turned to Arang Keshavarzian of New York University to interpret Rouhani’s decisive victory in the context of Iran’s ...

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Media on Media Roundup (May 17)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup covers several important stories affecting the Middle East and North African mediascape. A ransomware cyberattack named #WannaCry, which initially affected European institutions, is allegedly spreading to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE named as the most vulnerable targets. As Iranian presidential elections near, conservative parties embrace social media platforms in their electoral campaigning and current President Rouhani looks to win a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Behrooz Ghamari, Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution

Behrooz Ghamari, Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution. New York: OR Books, 2016. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Behrooz Ghamari: (BG): Originally, I did not conceive this as a book. Every New Year’s Eve I began writing little vignettes and character portraits about my years as a political prisoner in Iran. I was released from prison on New Year’s Eve of 1985, so that was the significance of the day for me. For one day every year I removed myself from the routines of everyday ...

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A Letter to Foucault: Selectively Narrating the Stories of Secular Iranian Feminists

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part six of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran builds a chapter-by-chapter defense ...

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Foucault’s Folly: Iran, Political Spirituality, and Counter-Conduct

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part four of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Foucault’s folly! That, of course, is the common indictment against Foucault’s ...

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Rescuing the Revolution from Its Outcome

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. [This is part two of a book symposium on Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi's Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment, consisting of six reviews and a response by the author. The symposium was originally published by The SCTIW Review, and is reposted here with their permission.] Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the ...

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Media on Media Roundup (March 8)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup looks at several issues facing the MENA mediascape. The Iraqi army found Daesh’s media center hidden in an upscale Mosul neighborhood following their recapture of the city, where the group broadcast its Al-Bayan radio station. Facebook shut down the page of Palestinian Fatah organization after they posted a picture of former leader Arafat holding a rifle. In Iran, several news outlets reacted positively to Asghar Farhadi’s second Oscar win, whilst ...

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Media on Media Roundup (February 14)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup addresses several issues affecting the MENA mediascape. Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 revolution this Friday, and the New York Times showcased some memorable posters from the procession, some of which thanked Americans who opposed the “Muslim ban.” According to Human Rights Watch representatives, Saudi Arabia intensified its attacks on journalists and activists in 2016. Also in Saudi Arabia, young women are taking to social media to report ...

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Jadaliyya Syria Page Co-Editor Basileus Zeno on Sectarianism, Syria, and Iran, on BBC Newshour Extra

After Aleppo? On Friday, 23 December 2016, the BBC’s Newshour Extra featured a discussion on the sectarianism as a framework of analysis for the war in Syria. Host Owen Bennet Jones mediated between panelists Basilseous Zeno (PhD Student in Political Science at University of Masschusetts Amherst), Mohammed Alyahya (Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council), Haydar al-Khoei (Researchers at the Centre for Academic Shi‘a Studies), and Ariane Tabatabai (Visiting Assistant Professor of Security Studies ...

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Fatherland. The Mountains of Iranian Kurdistan

When I was a child my father taught me to respect the mountains. Waking up in the middle of the night to see the sunrise from the mountaintop seemed, at the time, like pointless suffering. We did not lose time having breakfast because “you don’t eat before exerting yourself,” my father explained. He would put a few pieces of chocolate in my pocket for when I got hungry. Even in summer it was still dark and cold. Along the first part of the path I slept on his shoulders. Halfway up, at first light, I’d ...

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Where is the Revolution: An Interview with Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami agreed to give an interview only reluctantly. I reminded him insistently that the absence of a filmmaker with whom film is supposed to end (see below), would be catastrophic for a project whose subject is post-revolutionary New Iranian Cinema. Eventually, he agreed. Sitting across from me, he grins ironically. Kiarostami says that ever since Alberto Elena decided to quote Jean-Luc Godard, “Film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami,” on the cover of his monograph The ...

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On Iranian-Canadian Professor Homa Hoodfar's Arrest and Detainment in Iran's Evin Prison

[The below press release and petition were issued as part of the mobilzations to highlight Homa Hoodfar's detainment in Iran and call for her release] Press Release Iran / London / Montreal (8 June 2016) Revised 9 June 2016 for factual accuracy For immediate release CANADIAN PROFESSOR ARRESTED AND DETAINED IN IRAN’S EVIN PRISON Dr Homa Hoodfar, a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, was arrested and detained in Iran on 6 June 2016. This comes after the security forces of ...

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