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Facing the Future

The Artistic and Diasporic Afterlife of the Iran-Iraq War

Roxanne Varzi

How do the cultural and emotional after-effects of the Iran-Iraq War influence artistic production among Iranian artists living outside of Iran? How do Iranian diaspora self-portraits act as socio-political memoirs? This article addresses these questions by looking at some examples of diaspora artists who through their art somehow remain political 'subjects' of contemporary Iran, even as they grapple with the complexities of 'being away' - if that is ever really possible.

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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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“Welcome to Divinity College”

Subjectification in Pilgrimage to the Iran-Iraq War Battlefields in Contemporary Iran

Mahshid Zandi

“ Be danshegah-e Ilahiat khosh amadid ” 1 (Welcome to Divinity College), reads a welcome sign on the state-sponsored fieldtrips to the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) battlefields in Iran, known as Rahian-e Noor (travelers of the light; henceforth RN

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The Painful Return

Prisoners of War and Society in Iraq, 1988–2007

Ronen Zeidel

This is the first study of Iraqi POWs (prisoners of war) of the Iran-Iraq War and their relations with Iraqi society when they were absent and upon their return. The most significant factor affecting those relations was the exceptionally long duration of imprisonment: 8 to 10 years on average. By using novels and memoirs written by the prisoners reflecting on their prison experience, this article will try to unravel how Iraqi POWs perceived their ordeal and how they were influenced by dominant social values. Societal attitudes are also analysed through novels and short stories by some of Iraq's leading authors, in which the returning POW is the main subject.

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The Shadows of Knowability

Reading between Opaque Narrative and Transparent Text

Younes Saramifar

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 my experience of reading the auto/biographies of former

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Les rites d'âshurâ dans un village de l'Iran contemporain

Révélateur privilégié d'un monde rural en mutation

Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan

This article aims to analyse the evolution of âshurâ Shi’ite rituals in an Iranian village, in light of the socio-economic transformations of the last thirty years. Studying these rites as a fait social total, we show that they reflect many aspects of local life. Thus, the increasing dependence of the village on the urban regional centre, the reorganisation of the ties between neighbouring but antagonistic localities, the decreasing status of the great landowners and the increasing social homogenisation, the development of rural exodus and recent national history (the Iran-Iraq war, the establishment of the Islamic Republic and the development of religious reformism) – all have had an influence on the organisation of âshurâ ceremonies. The many functions of this ritual appear then more clearly, manifesting the manner of regional integration, reaffirming internal hierarchies and communal identity, and showing the ever-increasing dependence on the urban world.

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Reports

Publications, Exhibitions and Conferences

Sara Farhan, Paul Fox, and Fakhri Haghani

bites. However, Dewachi’s suggestion that the unmaking of Iraq’s medical infrastructure began at the Iran−Iraq War, exacerbated during the Gulf War and exhausted by 12 years of sanctions, omits the damage the structure incurred during the numerous coups

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Jackie Feldman

patina by conforming to religiously inscribed patterns that are understood to be innate—a sort of archetype in collective unconsciousness. If properly framed and narrated, the sacrifice of the Iran-Iraq War will resonate with this faculty or archetype

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Roxanne Varzi, Fadi A. Bardawil, Soheila Shahshahani, and Konstantina Isidoros

something deep inside by looking at dreams. To speak of the banality of violence does not really get to the core of how it changes, how it destroys and maims people. His attempts at filming scars reminds me of the men who tried to film faith during the Iran–Iraq

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Methodology Matters in Iran

Researching Social Movements in Authoritarian Contexts

Paola Rivetti

, which, however, is contested, goes back to two events. The first is the Islamic revolution, which codified and licensed the state authorities’ broad control over the population. The other event that consolidated this power is the Iran–Iraq war, which