The everyday practice of the mandatory veil has indeed been noticeably shifting ever since the first generation of women who were born after the 1979 Revolution came of age in the mid-1990’s. This kind of fascination with Iranian women and their sense of dress, however, obscures the complexities surrounding how Iranian women actually practice the mandatory veil. These articles produce simplistic generalizations by treating women’s bodily surfaces as a measure of societal progress and morality; romanticizing the notion of resistance; and eliding the significance of class and consumer culture in everyday urban life. Continue reading
While the theoretical problem of the local and global has been long exhausted by the globalization of Iranian cultural capital, the radical treatment of this binary in Mohammad Salemy’s curatorial practice through his engagement with Reza Negarestani’s brand of universal and rationalist philosophy is reenergizing the debate about the complex symmetry of the binary’s components. Continue reading
Curating Iranian art, an indistinguishable discourse from the overall knowledge production about target societies, becomes an occasion to debate the ramifications of global/local binary anew as a form of philosophical concern as an existentially entangled with geopolitical history and aesthetic heritage. Can a diasporic conceptualization of local existence be salvaged through its global pursuit of truth without having to resort to ready-made methodological channels of identity, culture, and history? Continue reading
Ms. Marvel’s latest comic featuring Kamala Khan raises important questions about issues of identity among second generation Pakistani-Americans. Values, tradition, and skin color are all relevant topics of discussion in the comic, which presents its hero as utterly normal and American. This article analyzes the importance of representation for Pakistani-Americans, whose presence and history has thus far been largely excluded from the American narrative. Continue reading
In 2013, we covered a wide variety of topics ranging from gender and sexuality politics in contemporary Iranian cinema to the attractions of Zionism to Iran’s pre-revolutionary elites, provoking a great deal of controversy along the way. Check out our ten most-viewed articles from 2013.
Like the city itself, the Imam Reza shrine complex grew gradually over time as political elites tried to establish their legitimacy. Rulers strove not only to appease the local religious establishment by funding elaborate building projects around the site, but also hoped to create physical testaments to their political authority. Due to the inherent political nature of these structures, the site was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt as it changed hands from dynasty to dynasty. Continue reading
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been placed under increasingly harsh rounds of sanctions by the US, the European Union, and the United Nations. The latest and strongest round of these sanctions were enacted during the early years of the Obama administration, and have made life increasingly difficult for average Iranians. Despite the significant effects that sanctions have had on all aspects of the lives of Iranian people, it can be hard at times to appreciate their impact in everyday terms. We’ve compiled a list of 15 photographs to help illustrate these impacts.
Perceptions of historical identities and present identities have always gone hand-in-hand on the basis of heritage and descent. Artefacts that remain from these histories are not only remnants of past events and peoples, but also raw materials for potentially new projects of nation-building and identity formation, depending on how they are interpreted. Continue reading
By showcasing Iran’s culture, history, and supposed ‘personality,’ Ask Iran is adding to the conversation by giving the Iranian people a voice needed during a time when sanctions are exacting a heavy price on Iranians and there is an ever-present fear of war. Her discourse is an extremely important contribution to the dialogue on Iran in the face of ‘othering,’ which is in line with Orientalist stereotypes of the Iranian people as being angry, backwards, and terrorists. Continue reading
This piece was originally published on The Tuqay before it became part of Ajam Media Collective. In the beginning of April, three alpinists (mountain climbers) from Uzbekistan made another ascent to the peak of Mingbulak, 2, 824 meters above sea level. “Mingbulak” means “thousand springs”, and is the highest point of the Karzhantau ridge. Karzhantau … Continue reading