[P4907] Contested Cultures of Revolution: Cultural Production in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Created by Annie Tracy Samuel
Monday, 11/20/17 8:00am


As the Islamic Republic of Iran approaches the end of its fourth decade, the question of how to make the revolution and the cultural order that it created both durable and meaningful for present and future generations is critical. How should the history, values, and significance of the revolutionary era be transmitted to and made to resonate with those who did not experience it?
Comprised of scholars of history, politics, architecture, and art history, this multi-disciplinary panel responds to this question by examining how state and societal institutions construct and contest the meaning and future of the revolution through cultural production. In addition to its interdisciplinary approach, the panel includes papers that make extensive use of fieldwork and ethnography in Iran, semi-structured interviews, archival research, and under-utilized Persian-language sources.

The panel's four papers address key questions concerning how Iranian institutions have sought to establish a particular social order through the promotion of certain norms and values, and demonstrate the importance ascribed to that endeavor. As a whole, the panel engages these questions through two different, yet complementary frameworks. The first framework is adopted by the papers on the Construction Jihad and the IRGC's Center for Holy Defense Documentation and Research. These papers focus on how the revolutionary generation has worked to commemorate the two defining events in the Islamic Republic's history--the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Both papers argue that, in so doing, these two institutions have used the revolution and the war as the basis and inspiration for prescribed cultural modes--for example, jihadi culture and management and the culture of the Holy Defense. In the process, these institutions have aspired to reinforce the ideals of and commitment to the revolution and Islam. The second framework is adopted by the papers on Islamic patriarchal cities and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. These papers focus on how the revolutionary order has been both constructed and contested in cultural spaces and the physical environment. Overall, the panel's four papers examine the efforts by state and societal institutions to socialize the population by promoting revolutionary and religious norms and values. In a nuanced and critical fashion, the papers highlight both the effective and contested nature of these efforts, which, in turn, reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the Islamic Republic's legitimacy.


Arch; Archit & Urb Plng; Art/Art Hist; Hist; Pol Science



Annie Tracy Samuel

(University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Eric Lob

(Florida International University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Ladan Zarabadi

(University of Cincinnati)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Jordan Amirkhani

(University of Tennessee-Chattanooga)
Professor Amirkhani received her Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Art from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom in 2015 where she completed a comprehensive study of the French painter Francis Picabia and his centrality to the discourse of...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;