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The Politics of Counting: Pro-Regime Media Strategy in the Islamic Republic of Iran

April 4, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Dr. Narges Bajoghli, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University.

This event is organized by The Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University and supported by the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice.


The Politics of Counting: Pro-Regime Media Strategy in the Islamic Republic of Iran

If successful, every revolutionary movement eventually faces a dilemma: how does the commitment to the revolutionary project get transmitted from one generation to the next as historical circumstances change? With the Islamic Republic approaching its forth decade, the transmission of its ideals to the revolution’s third generation has become the central focus of the state’s cultural institutions. In investigating this question, this talk looks at how pro-regime cultural producers, affiliated primarily with the Basij, but also with the Revolutionary Guard and Ansar-e Hezbollah, produce media in everyday interactions between producers, directors, editors, translators, and viewers. This research builds on work addressing how revolutions are transmitted from one generation to the next via media and communication technologies. Most scholarly work on revolutionary experiences has largely addressed areas of resistance within revolutionary regimes, particularly in the case of Iran. But, what is at stake for the supporters of the Islamic Republic? Drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tehran, Abadan, and Karaj, among pro-regime filmmakers and cultural centers, this talk addresses the work of hegemonic cultural centers in attempting to advance a culture of revolution.

Narges Bajoghli is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Watson Institute at Brown University. From her Brown website: She received her PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from New York University, where she was also trained as a documentary filmmaker in NYU’s Culture and Media Program.  Her research focuses on pro-regime cultural producers in Iran, and is based on over 18 months of ethnographic research with Basij, Ansar-e Hezbollah, and Revolutionary Guard media producers in Iran.

Narges’ dissertation is entitled: “Paramilitary Media: Revolution, War, and the Making of the Islamic Republic of Iran” and was supported by dissertation research grants from the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation (awarded/declined), The Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, and NYU’s Torch Fellowship.

In addition to her academic writing, Narges has also written on Iran for The New York Times Magazine (Learning to Play by Ear in IranTipsy in Tehran), The Guardian, The Washington Post, Al Monitor, Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), The Huffington Post, and LobeLog, and has appeared as a guest commentator on DemocracyNow!, NPR, BBC WorldService, PBS NewsHour, BBC Persian, and HuffPost Live.


April 4, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Center for Iran and Persian Studies


Aaron Burr Hall, Room 219