Memory, Activism and Social Justice NUBS 3.06
Jul 05, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230705T1330 20230705T1500 Europe/London 4.14. (De)Mobilising the Past in Revolutionary Momements: #IranPortests2022 and Politics of Remembering

She died on the 16th of September 2022. Three days prior, the 22 years-old Kurdish Jhina (Mahsa) Amini had been violently arrested by the police for defying the code of decency and Islamised attire. Outraged by the sheer atrocity and the denial of responsibility by the Islamic State, many took their anger and determination for change to the streets as well as the social media, sparking days of protests that took over the country and the Iranian diaspora. For many observers, #IranProtests2022 signified the awakening of a revolutionary spirit that could potentially mobilise a nation that has for long, been deeply divided ideologically and by clashing memories of a violent history under the authoritarian rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, through the Revolution of 1979 and its afterlives to date.Particularly significant, was the overwhelming youth participation in the protests including university and school-aged students inside Iran, dominated by women and girls who chanted "Woman, Life, Freedom". Linked to the histories of (non)movements against the Islamic Republic, the demographic as well as generational shifts in the recent uprisings, have added new complexities and renewed visions as well as hopes to mobilise for justice and political change in Iran.Understanding "memory as a building block for the construction of social movement identities and for the choices of repertoire of action" (Porat and Tufaro, 2022), the proposed panel situates memory within the contexts of authoritarianism and uprising to think through its complex and contradictory contributions to social justice movements. Focused on memory politics in revolutionary moments, the panel explores how contested pasts (re)configure subjectivities and (re)defines the prospects for political participation in ...

NUBS 3.06 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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She died on the 16th of September 2022. Three days prior, the 22 years-old Kurdish Jhina (Mahsa) Amini had been violently arrested by the police for defying the code of decency and Islamised attire. Outraged by the sheer atrocity and the denial of responsibility by the Islamic State, many took their anger and determination for change to the streets as well as the social media, sparking days of protests that took over the country and the Iranian diaspora. For many observers, #IranProtests2022 signified the awakening of a revolutionary spirit that could potentially mobilise a nation that has for long, been deeply divided ideologically and by clashing memories of a violent history under the authoritarian rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, through the Revolution of 1979 and its afterlives to date.

Particularly significant, was the overwhelming youth participation in the protests including university and school-aged students inside Iran, dominated by women and girls who chanted "Woman, Life, Freedom". Linked to the histories of (non)movements against the Islamic Republic, the demographic as well as generational shifts in the recent uprisings, have added new complexities and renewed visions as well as hopes to mobilise for justice and political change in Iran.

Understanding "memory as a building block for the construction of social movement identities and for the choices of repertoire of action" (Porat and Tufaro, 2022), the proposed panel situates memory within the contexts of authoritarianism and uprising to think through its complex and contradictory contributions to social justice movements. Focused on memory politics in revolutionary moments, the panel explores how contested pasts (re)configure subjectivities and (re)defines the prospects for political participation in times of crisis. It asks, how memory works inter-generationally as well as transnationally in critical junctures and the ways in which it can deepen or heal entrenched socio-political cleavage for the realisation of social justice.



Dr. Chowra Makaremi

Lost in Transmission: Iran's Revolutionary History beyond the Red Lines

How exactly did the 1979 revolution in Iran turn into the theocratic regime of the Islamic Republic? What is the history of violence of the Iranian revolution: one that did not result from the revolutionary days per se, but from the post-revolutionary era, and the micro-politics of State formation following the regime change? This history has seldom been studied so far, but different narratives are told. These narratives play a crucial rule in the (de)legitimation of the Iranian republican theocracy, the definition of national identities and the relationships between State and society. They are at the core of what is being radically redefined through the 2022 insurrections all over the country. The paper will explore the condition of production of Iran's revolutionary history as it helps us understand the redefinitions of political participation under theocratic authoritarianism, through the concept of "red lines" as boundaries of power, frontiers of the State and limits of knowledge. So we can get a grasp of what is being pushed and crossed collectively in the Fall of 2022. Why is there such a historiographic gap running through the Iranian 1980s, while so much has been written on "one of the most important revolutions of the 20th century" (Keddie 2006)? This void is anchored in the conditions of the production of knowledge in, and on, post-revolution Iran. The 2022 uprisings sanctioned a radical rupture in this regards, and brought the "memory wars" (Tavanian 2021) to a new phase by rejecting the ideological foundations of the Islamic republic as the legitimate heir and narrator of the 1979 'Islamic' revolution. This brief genealogy of the Iranian revolution's memory politics helps us understand the stakes and implications of the 2022 uprisings, their uniqueness and why they present a revolutionary configuration.


Dr. Pardis Shafafi

The Fall of the Red Line

The Iranian movement for change in 2022 is distinct from each wave before it and yet built
upon the foundation of its predecessors' sacrifices and learnings. Despite numerous diverse
factors of each group, historical echoes continue to dominate analyses of Iran, and with
associated fractions and ideologues fracturing the now long-exiled opposition. This paper
looks at the current regime's consolidation of power during the 1980s 'bloody decade'
through the lens of a branding project and machinery designed to generate and maintain
the illusion of 'ideal citizens'. The hegemonic power of public secrecy and red lines will be
explored as central to this citizen making project.
By re-examining the way 1980s activists remember and act on this critical decade, the red
lines drawn around information, bodies and expressions is spotlighted, with a view to show
how these lines have moved through different opposition events and finally been broken
down completely by protestors in 2022. The old adage 'those who do not know their history
are doomed to repeat it' provides a useful descriptive to ask whether the IR's playbook of
withholding history from its citizens has had the intended consequences, or whether public
secrecy has served to embolden and activate a new generation who disregards the old codes
for a chance to create a new chapter, and with everything at stake.

Tenured Research Fellow
,
French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris (CNRS)
Researcher
,
French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris (CNRS)
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