Muscat is a kaleidoscope of Indian Ocean worlds, connected to Sindh, Zanzibar, Baluchistan, Iran, and Yemen just as much as it is to the Arab world, and it’s not afraid to admit it. Its culture is defined by the sea, highlighting how our conception of geography as land-based is deeply ahistorical.
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.
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.
There was a time when the southwestern Iranian city of Abadan drew in immigrants from all over the world, and when its place as an oil city and harbinger of modernity seemed unmatched in the region. Today these memories often obscure the price paid for the construction of this cosmopolitan entrepôt. This piece is the second part in a series exploring how Abadan is imagined in Iran today.
مترجم: ج.س For the English version of this article, “This Place Should Have Been Iran”: Iranian Imaginings in/of Dubai, click here. گاهی یک جمله در گفتگویی میتواند تاثیری پایدار در ذهن بگذارد.…
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.
In a world where politicians like to create and emphasize differences between the so-called “West” and Iran, and even regional differences in the country itself, Ajam Band and its musical forefathers allow us musical glimpses of Iran that embrace paradox and encourage Iranians and non-Iranians alike to turn to their identities, as mixed and incoherent as they may be, as a source of pride.