Blackness on the Iranian Periphery: Ethnicity, Language, and Nation in Bashu, the Little Stranger

Through Bashu’s attempts to assimilate into a village where his dark skinned features and Khuzestani Arabic denotes his displacement, Beizai’s film prompts criticisms of ethnocentric Persian nationalism and questions the experience of blackness in Iran, while neatly underscoring the tension between nationalism and gender.
View Post
Share

Keywords: “Culture”

During the 1980s, the uncanny nature of “culture” emerged as the focus of much debate in the social sciences. The consensus today is that “culture” is not a coherent and timeless thing that is always bound to a certain place. It is contested, and though it can materialize in things and actions it always exceeds them as well. Academics today prefer to focus on the politics of “culture”: the claims that it is invoked to make, and by whom.
View Post
Share

Between Uncertainty and Paradox: Afghan Refugees in Turkey

Afghan refugees in Turkey are in legal limbo in which their status is unclear. They have the right to reside in the country, but lack the right to work or the kind of state assistance needed to avoid working. To be a refugee in Turkey then requires navigating life between a state-acknowledged realm of illegality, and the uncertainty of how global trends can affect the fate of a refugee population.
View Post
Share

Ajam Digital Archive: Recentering Personal and Communal Histories

The items collected for the Ajam Digital Archive will allow us to document and record history from below—how it was actually lived, experienced, and understood. It is precisely these histories that were ignored in favor of tales that focused exclusively on wars and revolutions, rarely giving us a sense of how life was lived amidst it all.
View Post
Share

Ajam Mixtape #11: Future Sounds from Outtallectuals

This guest mix from Outtalectuals takes the Ajam mixtape series to new planes, both sonically and geographically. This mix came to fruition as an attempt to use the Ajam platform to show artists who are critically and uniquely engaging with music that is often cordoned off into the “world music” sphere. Instead, Outtalectuals takes these sounds as influences to deeply connect with, rather than cliches to reproduce and slightly modify.
View Post
Share

Picturing the Other: Race and Afro-Iranians in Documentary Photography

These types of documentary ventures, both filmic and photographic, identify a racialized community as their subject, visibly recognizable by their visual characteristics. Despite this clear reliance on race, there is rarely much attention given to the issue of race itself. Instead, most tend to emphasize successful assimilation predicated on nationalist sentiments and champion the diversity of these communities. By ignoring race and its relationship to photography, we overlook crucial elements that have structured similar stories in the past.
View Post
Share

Goodbye Lenin, Hello Timur: The Evolution of National Monuments in Uzbekistan’s Capital City

National monuments in the Uzbek public sphere are often viewed as indicators of A concerted effort to break from Russian historiography and establish counter-narratives predating both Tsarist imperialism and the Soviet experience. However, if one carefully examines 20th century mechanisms of control in Central Asia, it is clear that Uzbek strategies to resignify historical and literary figures are derived from Soviet historiography.
View Post
Share