SOAS University of London

Centre for Iranian Studies

The Imaginary Visions of Iran in 1930s and 1970s

Ali Mirsepassi, New York University

Date: 15 November 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 15 November 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Wolfson Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Talk

Ali Mirsepassi Talk Imaginary Visions of Iran

This talk will focus upon a specific “imaginative” shifts about Iran as a modern nation. I will discuss two important historical periods in fashioning the social imaginary of the modern Iran by discussing two intellectual’s debates in each period: A scholarly debate, in the 1930s, round Persian Erfan and the French philosopher, Henry Bergson, and the “ideological” public debate on reconciliation of Islam and Marxism, in late 1970s. My presentation will explore a clear shift from a modern and cosmopolitan vision of Iran, in the post-Mashruteh period, to a new national social imaginary defined in terms of religious identity and national tradition.  I will argue that this shift was a more unified and national narrative about the Iranian national shared by substantial majority of Iranians across political and cultural ideologies and sensibilities, including secular and religious and oppositional and the ruling elites.

Ali Mirsepassi is Albert Gallatin Research Excellence Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University. He is also director of Iranian Studies Initiative at NYU. He was a 2007-2009 Carnegie Scholar and is the co-editor, with Arshin Adib-Moghadam, of The Global Middle East, a book series published by the Cambridge University Press.

He is the author of Transnationalism in Iranian Political Thought: The Life and Thought of Ahmad Fardid (Cambridge University Press, 2017), co-author, with Tadd Fernee, of Islam, Democracy, and Cosmopolitanism (Cambridge University Press, 2014); is the author of Political Islam, Iran and Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Democracy in Modern Iran (New York University Press, 2010), Intellectual Discourses and Politics of Modernization: Negotiating Modernity in Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and Truth or Democracy (published in Iran); the co-editor of Localizing Knowledge in a Globalizing World (Syracuse University Press, 2002.

His new book, Iran’s Troubled Modernity: Debating Ahmad Fardid’s Legacy (Cambridge University Press), will be published in November of 2018 and his new book The “Quiet Revolution “The “Westoxification” Ideology Under the Pahlavi State: 1960s-1970s, is under review for publication.

Chair: Hassan Hakimian, LMEI

Admission Free - All Welcome

Organiser: Centre for Iranian Studies

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4330