Fall 2016 SEMINARS - December 7 2016

Seminar on Iranian Studies

The fourth meeting of the 29th consecutive year of Columbia University Seminar on
Iranian Studies for the academic year 2016-2017 will take place on:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
at 5:30 pm in the
Faculty House of Columbia University
Our speaker will be

Dr. Neda Bolourchi of Columbia University
Who will lead the discussion on:
"The Sacred Iran: Sacrificial Discourse Across the Political Spectrum in
Pre-Revolutionary Iran and the Shah as a Utopist Thinker"


We will gather in the lounge of Faculty House from 5:00-5:30. 
Seminar will start at 5:30.
Please notify us at: aa398@columbia.edu if you will attend the lecture. (Please also specify if you will stay for dinner. The price of dinner will be $30, payable by check only.)

We are looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you at the seminar.
Chairs: Vahid Nowshirvani and Ahmad Ashraf

To reach the Faculty House:
Enter the Wien Hall Gate on 116th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Walk past Wien Hall, then turn right to the Faculty House.


In her talk, Dr. Bolourchi argues that the 20th  century Iranian history is a dispute amongst disparate societal groups over an idealized, imagined, future Iran. In much of her work, Dr. Bolourchi examines the sacrificial rhetoric and the sacred images constructed and mobilized by the Iranian Liberal-Left to realize its imagined and idealized Iran. But in this talk, she examines the religious roots of the sacrificial rhetoric of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his vision for a utopic, sacred Iran. She sees the Pahlavi State's neo-liberal development discourse and concomitant modes of violence as not merely the adoption of western high modernization theory or of a dictatorial penal system. Rather, Pahlavi's promulgation of the "White Revolution" and "Great Civilization" is the creative thinking and creative projects catalyzed by the traumas of World War II and mobilized by technological advancement. Yet, as with others seeking to create utopias of stability and security and cities of man, Pahlavi could neither plan for nor control Iranian society.


Bio: Neda Bolourchi, JD, PhD, is a Research Associate with the Andrew W. Mellon Program at the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) at Columbia University, where she also earned her doctorate. Dr. Bolourchi's research examines concepts of the modern state as secularized theological notions, the intersection of race, religion, and colonialism, and minorities in the Middle East.