The fact that Iranians talk about brain drain as if it was a uniquely huge Iranian problem suggests that brain drain is a proxy for their anxieties about the state of the country, rather than actual empirical evaluation of the country’s migration. (Image Credit: Alireza Darvish)
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.
In the wake of the Ankara bombings, we investigate language of solidarity and liberty during protest movements.
The Iranian national canon, whatever it means to different people, is primarily studied as a continuation of the “Persian literary canon” while Afghan and Tajik literatures are treated as a divergence, and consequently lose the Persian qualifier. Persian literary production outside of Iran is essentially treated as an exotic object in an uncharted terrain.
In another installment of the Emerging Scholarship series, Narges Bajoghli talks about Paramilitary Media during and after the Iran-Iraq War. Bajoghli explains the rise of war veteran filmmakers who have produced alternative narratives about the eight-year conflict in order to better communicate the “truth of war” to a younger generation of Iranians.
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.
The satellite dish made a significant impression on Iranian society in those years. It was an accessible window into other worlds. Iranians could glimpse the social lives of other peoples through its programs; learn of the latest consumer goods through its advertisements; and follow life-style channels.
The Paykan, like many of its drivers, has survived the tumult of revolution, war, reconstruction, and economic crises. The resilience of the Paykan mirrors that of 20th and 21st Century Iran, which can explain why it still endures not only as functional car, but also as a symbol of collective experiences and an object of nostalgia.
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.