Accepted paper:

'Oriental despot syndrome' and other imagined illnesses of the Iranian diaspora's body politic: exploring the reductive narratives of Iranian diaspora activism

Authors:

Pardis Shafafi (Designit)

Paper short abstract:

If the 1979 Islamic revolution was a test of the totality of modernism, and the reversibility of modernity as we know it, what do academics and intellectuals consider to be the 'innate' cultural traits that facilitated it?

Paper long abstract:

If the 1979 Islamic revolution was a test of the totality of modernism, and the reversibility of modernity as we know it, what do academics and intellectuals consider to be the 'innate' cultural traits that facilitated it? Far from holding Iran up as a socio-political enigma which defied (and continues to defy) Western conventions, or even as a exception to the rule of civil society triggered transitions, this paper will demystify the processes behind the the novel exemplar. Using research amongst diaspora activists and movements abroad the paper investigates trope narratives about political activism amongst Iranians in diaspora- incorporating the same revolutionaries who galvanised the current conditions into existence in 1979- and seeks to provide some insight into what is really ailing the Iranian Diaspora body politic. Moving away from the predominant idea that Iranians are simply culturally undemocratic and favour strong dictatorial hierarchies, more complex ideas about revolutionary fractionism, post-traumatic political engagement and specific class and ethnic experiences of revolution will be polemicised.

panel P42
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