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Iran Ideology Conference 2010

Added by admin on 2010-10-03

Conference Dates:

Start Date Start Date: 2010-10-09
Last Date Last Day: 2010-10-09

Conference Contact Info:

Contact Person Contact Person: Narges Bajoghli
Email Email: IranIdeologyConference@gmail.com
Address Address: Humanities Building on the UCLA Campus, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, United States

Conference Description:

In the summer of 2009, Iranians took to the streets in protest, an event that some have described as akin to the American civil rights struggle during the 1960s. A younger generation, between the ages of 15 and 29, stands at the forefront of these events, often defining the movement's terms, slogans and direction while taking yesterday's politicians in their tow. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, an intense political struggle has ensued between major players from competing factions of the previous revolutionary guard. At stake in this struggle is the very meaning of the 1979 revolution, an event whose significance has been re-interpreted for the purpose of varying political ends over the past few months.

This one-day conference promises to examine the shifting terrain of Iranian social movements over the past 30 years.

On the one hand, discussants will focus on the role that ideology and citizenship have played in Iranian politics across two distinct political events: the 1979 Revolution and today's 'Green Movement.' Specifically: Whereas ideologies played a central role in the 1979 revolution, many scholars and activists have recently claimed that the Green Movement of 2009 represents a 'post-ideological' generation and/or approach to social change. This conference is interested in understanding and interpreting the significance of this assertion.

In addition to a diachronic analysis of ideology and citizenship within Iranian society, discussants will offer an international analysis of similar developments between Iran and other social contexts. The contention is that events in Iran, while specific to a particular social and historical context, are not limited to that context but rather reflect and respond to global issues. We are offering participants three sets of questions in order to focus the discussion:

1) With regards to ideology, where does the Green Movement stand in relation to the 1979 revolution? What does it mean to identify one's participation in todayıs movement as 'non-ideological'? What are the consequences of this position in the contemporary political discourse and debate about Iran (and beyond)? And, can a non-ideological political posiition adequately be categorized as 'post-ideological'?

2) The Green Movement began with the slogan 'Where is my vote?' To what extent is the Green Movement concerned with questions of citizenship? In the consolidation of power following the Revolution of 1979, notions of citizenship were solidified in the Constitution and legal codes of the new state. What is the relationship between these notions of citizenship and state ideology? To what extent are these notions a product of certain ideological presuppositions? On the other hand, what has the enactment and enforcement of inclusion and exclusion based on notions of citizenship meant for the development of various ideological and/or 'post-ideological' positions in the Islamic Republic? Is not citizenship 'ideological' intrinsically?

3) Over the past 30 years Iran has witnessed various social movements including the student movement, the bus drivers and teachers' strikes, the struggle for labor rights, and the womanıs movements. Can today's movement be described as an extension of those previous protests? If so, how? If, arguably, a qualitative shift has occurred in the role of ideology and the claim to citizenship between 1979 to 2009, then how have these different social movements facilitated these changes?

At the same time, we are asking our respondents to address the themes of (1) ideology / post-ideology, and (2) social movements for citizenship in the context of Latin American, South Asian, Middle Eastern, European and North-American socio-political developments. In particular, discussants will address the significance of a global shift‹if any‹from ideologically driven social movements in the 1960s and 1970s to efforts at achieving social justice based on claims to citizenship. Specifically: In the context of decolonization as well as the aftermath of the Cold War, how have domestic resistance movements in some non-Western and/or underdeveloped countries been less focused on removing a foreign presence and more on expanding the now consolidated nation-state's norms of citizenship? Are limited citizenship norms the primary object of change and critique? How do these efforts co-exist and/or clash with social movements that are anti-imperialist in the traditional sense?

All speakers will be asked to address whether or not this shift is specific to a particular era in modern history or the product of social circumstances that defy any claim to historical exceptionality.

Conference Speakers
Amirhassan Boozari
Amirhassan Boozari was the Legal Advisor to a Parliamentary Commission in Iran's Parliament, which was charged with the duties of Constitutional Ombudsman in Tehran, Iran from 1990-92. Amirhassan Boozari served as an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law (2009-2010) where he taught Islamic Law, Constitutionalism & Democracy in Iran. His main areas of research are comparative constitutionalism, Islamic law, International Human Rights, and democratic transition in Muslim countries.

Hamid Dabashi
Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia Universityıs Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures. He has published numerous books on a range of topics. Most notably, his Theology of Discontent discusses the intellectual contributions of eight key political and intellectual figures to the development of a coherent Islamic ideology in Iran, a distinct and modern phenomenon that played pivotal role in the events that transpired in 1979. Since he has published significant pieces reviewing this argument including 'The End of Islamic Ideology' (Social Research; Summer 2000) and Islamic Liberation Theology. He has also written about the instrumental role of visual culture in the revolutionary process as well as commenting extensively on emerging cultural and political developments in Iran and the greater Middle East. Dr. Dabashiıs commentaries on the green movement in Iran, and his claim that it was a 'post-ideological civil rights movement' have informed some of the central themes in this conference.

Kaveh Ehsani
Kaveh Ehsani is an Assistant Professor of International Studies at DePaul University where he teaches the Politics, Economy and Culture of the Middle East with a specific focus on Iran. He is a longtime contributor to the Middle East Report and has spent over 10 years living and working in Iran where he has conducted extensive fieldwork.

Mehrangiz Kar
Mehrangiz Kar is a recognized advocate of women's and human rights in Iran where she practiced as a lawyer for a number of years after the 1979 revolution. She has extensive experience working within the framework of penal codes established by the Islamic Republic and has been at the intellectual forefront of movements for social justice in Iran for over 30 years.

Ali Akbar Mousavi
Ali Akbar Mousavi is a noted Iranian human rights activist. He was elected to the 6th Parliament of Iran. As a Member of Parliament he championed the rights of political prisoners. He was an active member of Tahkim Vahdat and founder of the Sazeman-e Danesh Amokhtegan-e Iran (Iran Students Alumni Organization) that advocated for human rights in Iran for women, minorities, prisoners, and students.

Aamir Mufti
Aamir Mufti is a professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA. He pursued his doctoral studies in literature at Columbia University under the supervision of Edward Said. He was also trained in Anthropology at Columbia and the London School of Economics, and his research and teaching reflect this disciplinary range. His work reconsiders the secularization thesis in a comparative perspective, with a special interest in Islam and modernity in India and the cultural politics of Jewish identity in Western Europe. His areas of specialization include: colonial and postcolonial literatures, with a primary focus on India and Britain, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century Urdu literature in particular; Marxism and aesthetics; Frankfurt School critical theory; minority cultures; exile and displacement; refugees and the right to asylum; modernism and fascism; language conflicts; global English and the vernaculars; and the history of Anthropology.

William I. Robinson
William I. Robinson is a professor of Sociology, Latin American and Iberian Studies, and Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on: macro and comparative sociology, globalization and trans-nationalism, political economy, political sociology, development and social change, Latin America and the Third World, and Latina/o studies.

Muhammad Sahimi
Muhammad Sahimi is a political columnist for Tehran Bureau. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ tehranbureau/ He is a professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and the NIOC Chair in petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In addition to his scientific research, which has resulted in four books and nearly 300 published papers, he has been writing about Iran's nuclear program and its internal developments for many years.
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