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The South Side of Heaven

A Journey along the Iranian Collective Memory in Iran-Iraq War Memorial Sites

Younes Saramifar

I portray mnemonic practices of Iranians who engaged with the past and keep the memories of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) alive within frames and words. Through pictures taken during the annual commemoration of martyrs in southern Iran, I show how religiosity, politics and generational guilt are entangled in post-war Iran. I move against the grains of memory studies and visual anthropology by maintaining the silences and what is left unsaid instead of rendering war memories, acts of remembering and ways of seeing epistemologically coherent. I argue remembering is a practice locally shaped according to the politics of everyday life and not by imagined presupposition of memory scholars. Therefore, I draw an ontological approach towards memories in Iran by ways of seeing and religious worldview of those implicated in the Iranian memory machine.

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The Shadows of Knowability

Reading between Opaque Narrative and Transparent Text

Younes Saramifar

The torch of ember and its puzzling knowability are my exemplars, serving to open the binary of opacity and transparency in narrativity. I highlight inadequacies in the binary of opacity and transparency by examining the works of Peter Lamarque and Clare Birchall on matters of narrative and secrecy. I will try to see how one can think about opacity/transparency through the lenses of speculative realism and object-oriented philosophy. I do so by drawing examples from memories of the Iran-Iraq war (1980–1989) and explaining how the language of remembering becomes the realm of a tension between presence and absentia, between the unsaid within the said. I explore how memory-as-narrative and narrative-as-memory sustain the potentiality that eludes Orwellian newspeak.

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Circling around the really Real in Iran

Ethnography of Muharram laments among Shi’i volunteer militants in the Middle East

Younes Saramifar

Iranian Shi’i believers claim that capturing sorrow and lamentation in their fullest sense falls beyond language and reason. They constantly refer to their inability to articulate in order to explain martyrdom and highlight a form of unsaid that explains all that appears impalpable for them. I undertake a journey among Iranian Shi’i youth to trace the unarticulated and the sense of wonder generated via religious experiences. By way of an ethnography of Muharram lamentation ceremonies, this article highlights how the unarticulated and the un said are socially and politically used in service of Shi’i militancy. I explore those uncharted terrains in the darkness of the Lacanian Real and in terms of how the Real is authenticated in order to address how realities are craft ed and religious subjectivities are enacted in the realm of militancy.

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Matthew Carey, Ida Nielsen Sølvhøj, Eve Monique Zucker, Younes Saramifar and Louis Frankenthaler

THE GRECANICI OF SOUTHERN ITALY: Governance, Violence, and Minority Politics By Stavroula Pipyrou. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. 256 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4830-2.

FOUR DECADES ON: Vietnam, the United States, and the Legacies of the Second Indochina War Edited by Scott Laderman and Edwin A. Martini. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. 334 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-8223-5474-1.

FROM THE LAND OF SHADOWS: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora By Khatharya Um. New York: New York University Press, 2015. 272 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-1-4798-0473-3.

NATIONALISM, LANGUAGE, AND MUSLIM EXCEPTIONALISM By Tristan James Mabry. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. 264 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4691-9.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS IN ISRAEL: Citizenship, Sacrifice, Trials of Fealty By Erica Weiss. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. 216 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-8122-4592-9.

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Manuel Stoffers, Blake Morris, Alan Meyer, Younes Saramifar, Andrew Cobbing, Martin Emanuel, Rudi Volti, Caitlin Starr Cohn, Caitríona Leahy and Sunny Stalter-Pace

Bruce D. Epperson, Bicycles in American Highway Planning: The Critical Years of Policy-Making 1969–1991 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2014), 248 pp., $45

Carlton Reid, Roads Were Not Built for Cars: How Cyclists Were the First to Push for Good Roads & Became the Pioneers of Motoring (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015), 360 pp., $30

Karen O’Rourke, Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers (London: MIT Press, 2016), 328 pp., £22.95

Jason Weems, Barnstorming the Prairies: How Aerial Vision Shaped the Midwest (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015), 368 pp., 116 b&w photos, 16 color plates, $122.50 (hardback), $35 (paperback)

Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich, eds., Airplane Reading (Alresford, UK: Zero Books, 2016), 213 pp., $22.95 (paperback)

Catherine L. Phipps, Empires on the Waterfront: Japan’s Ports and Power, 1858–1899 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 308 pp., 6 maps, 3 tables, $39.95

James Longhurst, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015), 294 pp., $34.95

David N. Lucsko, Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust: Salvaging the Automotive Past (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), 283 + xii pp., 10 illustrations, $44.95

Steven E. Alford and Suzanne Ferris, An Alternative History of Bicycles and Motorcycles: Two-Wheeled Transportation and Material Culture (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016), 189 pp., $80

Harald Fischer-Tiné, Pidgin-Knowledge: Wissen und Kolonialismus (Zurich and Berlin: Diaphanes, 2013), 104 pp., €10

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (New York: Doubleday, 2016), 320 pp., $26.95