In the southern Indian port city of Kochi, millennia of merchant cosmopolitanism have contributed to the growth of a diverse and syncretic culture that combines faiths, practices, and forms from across the Indian Ocean rim. The history of Syriac Christianity and Sephardic Judaism in the region offer a unique perspective on Kerala’s historic relationship with the Middle East.
A photo essay depicting Muharram observances and preparation across Iran in October of 2015. During the Islamic month of Muharram, Muslims of all backgrounds participate in a series of rituals observing the martyrdom of Husayn ibn ‘Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, and his companions at the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.
Ajam co-editor-in-chief Alex Shams interviews Shahana Rajani and Zahra Malkani about their new edited volume “Exhausted Geographies,” which explores representations of the urban space of Karachi, Pakistan through mapping.
إن تاريخ وطبيعة التغييرات السياسية في معنى الهوية الوطنية والعرقية في إيران يسلط الضوء على أشكال الصراعات والتناقضات التي عرفتها جميع الدول في حقبة ما بعد الإستعمار. على الرغم من أن الأيديولوجيات تهدف إلى تعزيز الشعور والوعي الوطني – سواء العلمانية القومية الفارسية البهلوية أو القومية العربية العلمانية أو القومية الثورية الإيرانية الدينية- إلا أنها جميعاً ترتكز حول فكرة الحصرية، حصرية من يُشكل الأمة وكيفية الإنتماء إلى المجتمع الوطني المحصور بثقافة ولغة واحدة.
Despite the Zoroastrian community’s waning numbers, the urban fabric of Mumbai’s older neighborhoods remain dominated by symbols and reminders of the Parsi and Irani communities’ success in the Subcontinent.
Since the Revolution, Iranian urban fabric has been reshaped to both reflect and produce ideals of modern Islamic citizenship as understood by various political actors including the central government, the municipality, and other authorities. Tehran has been marked by a wholesale reconstitution and realignment of the public space along a gender binary model, such that many public institutions are segregated in some way and the morality police regulate spaces that lack a physical architecture of gender dichotomization.
Just south of Jaffa is the shrine of Nabi Reuben, once the site of a boisterous Palestinian religious festival that combined the Christian and Muslim, the spiritual and the profane. Today, the shrine sits amid the sand dunes, a reminder of a pre-Zionist cosmopolitanism forcibly uprooted from the land.
I am Nasrine is the tale of two Iranian siblings who migrate to England and find a world of rampant discrimination that looks little like what they expected. The tragedy of the film is not one that can be easily limited to English housing estates or the plight of Iranian emigres. Indeed, this tale of migrant survival and struggle is far more universal, a searing indictment of the limits of liberalism and the failure of international and local humanitarian bureaucracies — as well as receiving societies as a whole — to effectively understand migrants as complex human beings.
The material success that many Iranians have enjoyed in this country has obscured their connections with other discriminated groups, and instead fostered an attitude of “lay low, don’t make trouble,” that idealizes financial success as the key to realizing the American Dream. Despite the racial discrimination Iranians regularly face as a community in the United States, many continue to insist upon their own Whiteness, refusing to even consider the question, “Are Iranians People of Color?”
The gender politics of the Islamic Republic look nothing like those of the Pahlavi regime, and they look nothing like what most outside observers or Iranians would have predicted back in 1979. How did all this happen? A list of key books to help answer that question, tackling the issue of gender politics in the Islamic Republic through the questions of gender, sex, and sexuality so central to understanding modern Iran.