[R6468] Iranian Studies Unbound: Emerging Global Approaches to the Field (Part I)

Created by Negar S Razavi
Wednesday, 12/01/21 11:30 am


This roundtable will focus on critical strands of scholarship emerging within Iranian studies that intentionally challenge the traditional yet persisting divisions of this field--including those that have long separated studies of 'Iran' from studies of its diasporas. Such divisions have begun to lessen in recent years as more scholars examine topics such as migration, memory, and the circulation of ideas and goods to and from Iran. However, few scholars have theorized what the collapsing of these scholarly boundaries could mean ontologically, epistemologically, methodologically, and even politically for this field and Middle East studies more broadly. This roundtable invites junior and mid-career scholars from across disciplines and institutions who are similarly interested in the potential of cultivating a more critical, global approach to the study of modern Iran and its diasporas. As part of this roundtable, we will ask each participant to briefly share how they are wrestling with and working to move beyond these inherited constraints/divisions within their work, both theoretically and methodologically.

The collective dialogue will then consider: what new areas of study can emerge from explicitly adopting such a critical, global approach? For instance, can we trace how discourses around race and racialization in the diaspora affect and reshape discussions about belonging, citizenship, and/or security within Iran? How do those living inside Iran’s boundaries interact with or make political demands on those living outside the nation? How do practical considerations around (in)security or professional advancement necessitate or hinder such shifts? What are the political resonances, and tensions, between struggles for justice and freedom within Iran and the emergent political formations and solidarities of the Iranian diaspora in diverse global contexts?

In pushing for an increasingly global vision of Iranian studies, in this roundtable we aim to provincialize North American forms and methods of knowledge production on and about Iran that recapitulate methodological nationalism and attendant monolingualism of traditional area studies.


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Arash Davari

(Whitman College)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Rustin Zarkar

(University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Negar S Razavi

(Northwestern University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Emrah Yildiz

(Northwestern University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Shirin Vossoughi

(Northwestern University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Presenter;

Ida Yalzadeh

(Harvard University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;