The Emergence of ‘Home Shows’: The Market and Politics of Television Entertainment in Iran

Recently, Iranian television production has the proliferation of “home shows” (namâyesh-e khânegui). These series have official government permission to be produced, yet are only allowed to be distributed through DVD sales. How has the “home show” network opened an alternative space of expression within the official media landscape of the Islamic Republic?
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Taziyeh in Motion: The Traveling Culture of Iranian Muharram Theater

What are some of the ways that the Ashura mourning plays of ta’ziyeh get translated when traveling to foreign lands? What elements of the tradition are altered and similarly, what elements are kept in tact? How can a foreign audience negotiate themselves as alternative spectators? Can ta’ziyeh be a site of travel in itself? Exploring possible answers to such questions allows leeway into the ever-evolving global discussion of our complex and entangled modernity.
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Karbala in Istanbul: Scenes from the Ashura Commemorations of Zeynebiye

Ashura is a day of mourning marked by Muslims around the world to commemorate the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, Hossein, and his compatriots. As a day of commemoration, it has been marked by people of all faiths across large swathes of South, Central, and Western Asia for centuries. This photo essay documents presents a look at the ritual in Istanbul’s Zeynebiye neighborhood in 2013, the center of the city’s Shia population.
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Landmarks, Heritage, and Sites of Remembrance: The Armenian Churches of Iranian Azerbaijan

As UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran act as a celebration of the past, but not an examination of it. One may ask: where are the Armenians who lived here, if only their buildings remain? As landmarks are indoctrinated into the cult of heritage, we are able to consecrate something that speaks to cosmopolitanism without actually having to live it, or ask the question why the past no longer resembles the present.
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Set in Stone: Constructing Identity and Cosmopolitanism in Georgia

The preservation and restoration of religious buildings become implicated in complex and polemical questions of Georgian nationhood, citizenship, identity, and belonging. The production of a neoliberal notion of cosmopolitanism based on tolerance and celebration of different ethno-religious groups within national borders, enshrined in the preservation of religious buildings, is part and parcel of this re-branding campaign. The presentation of a public space that celebrates diversity does not however necessarily translate to lived reality where difference just is.
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Weaving History: Ziegler Co. and the Making of Iran’s Carpet Industry

Carpet manufacturing during the Qajar period was dominated by the establishment of multinational corporations who invested heavily in the production of Persian carpets. The management method used by these companies inside developing countries was based on exploitation. These companies encouraged the carpet manufactures to weave inexpensive carpets of low quality and cheap coloration due to the use of chemically-unstable ink colors, which were suitable for European and American markets. These corporations encouraged economic profitability over quality.
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