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Sickness of the Revolution: Loss, Fetishism, and the Impossibility of Politics

Thursday, September 29, 2022 at 4:45pm to 6:15pm

White Hall, 110
123 Central Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Milad Odabaei is a postdoctoral fellow at the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies. He received his PhD in Anthropology with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2018. His research and teaching bring together critical and anthropological approaches to the study of translation and transmission of knowledge as well as religion and politics in the theorization of modern Iran.

Conventional accounts of the 1979 Iranian revolution emphasize the loss of the revolution’s “true” spirit in the violence of the Islamic state. In contrast, this lecture foregrounds a recurring dream of parricide in the generation of children of revolutionaries, to explore the fetishization of the revolution in such accounts. This dream refracts the violence and loss emphasized in the narratives of the revolution. In dethroning the fetish of the revolution, it enables a confrontation with the losses and limits of earlier theological and political paradigms indexed by the event of revolution. As a form of anthropological defamiliarization, the dream thus offers an opportunity for a speculative encounter with loss as a political-theological horizon of renewal.

Co-sponsored by Departments of Anthropology and Comparative Literature, and Institute of Comparative Modernities

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Near Eastern Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM)


cascal, nescal, cashum, complit, anthro

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Milad Odabaei

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Princeton University

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