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Centre for Media Studies

Iranian media and film

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 1
Since the Iranian revolution in 1978 Iran has had a vibrant media scene. In the same period major socio-political transformations have taken place in which the role of the Iranian media is widely acknowledged. These range from audiotapes of revolutionary speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini against the monarchic regime to the political blogs associated with the reformist movement since the late 1990s. One of the most significant among Iranian media has been the national cinema. Iranian films have not only attracted a lot of attention internationally, they has also been engaged in various social issues of national importance such as critique of gender restrictions introduced under the Islamic republic. This course will study the Iranian media, particularly the cinema, under the Islamic Republic of Iran. The course will study the socio-political and cultural transformations in the recent history through the lens of the media. It will challenge essentialist reduction of Iranian media in terms of Islamic ideology. Rather it will historicize the developments and political actors in a nuanced manner. The course is designed to offer students an overview of the topic while providing those interested in further research with a sound base. It is important to note that this course does not aim to be exhaustive. Rather, the approach is selective using case studies from a range of Iranian media to foster a broader understanding. The course will pay particular attention to Iranian cinema and its developments.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

  • Gain an overall understanding of political developments since the Iranian revolution
  •  Gain a solid grounding in the role of the media in these developments
  •  Attain a good grasp of the regime’s so-called Islamic ideology and how it has manifested itself in society and its media policy
  •  Gain a good understanding of Iranian cinema both of art house and mainstream variety
  •  Learn about major Iranian filmmakers
  •  Gain some knowledge of Iranian national culture and society
  •  Learn about how Iranian cinema has been engaged in various debates of national significance including that of gender

Scope and syllabus

Week 1: Iranian media history: an overview
Week 2: Post-revolution press
Week 3: Iranian national Radio and Television
Week 4: Satellite TV
Week 5: The Internet
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Iranian cinema: the beginnings
Week 8: Nationalism and Iranian Cinema
Week 9: Cinema and Religion
Week 10: Gender and Iranian cinema
Week 11: Filmmaking in Exile