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Sacrifice Across Iranian Religious Communities During the Iran-Iraq War and After

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

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

Yes, this event is still happening! We hope to see you tonight. 

In September 1980, the Christian, Zoroastrian, and Jewish communities of Iran announced their willingness to volunteer for the front lines to defend the country against Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran. This talk answers why these communities made this announcement - when they were arguably being marginalized by the newly formed Islamic Republic - by using the words of individuals themselves. In so doing, this presentation looks at how communities were treated during the war. And, importantly, this research analyzes how this history has been re-written to fit a more universal concept of sacrifice that  shapes these communities into model minorities.

Neda Bolourchi is a Post-Doctoral Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She is an interdisciplinary scholar deeply engaged in legal, ethnographic, and archival theory and methodology. She currently is completing the book manuscript of her dissertation, Contending Visions of Iran: The Battle for the Sacred Nation-State, as well as an oral history project. Both examine the transformative discourse on and about Iran as sacred across the political and religious spectra during the twentieth century. Neda's work has been supported with multiple fellowships by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others.

Her work on religion, law, minorities, and war has been published in the Journal of American Academy of Religion, Iranian Studies, and Religion and Contemporary Politics. She has forthcoming articles on the Quranic versus contemporary understanding of the concepts feda' and fedayeen as well as sensory perception production in mid-twentieth century Iranian media. 

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Near Eastern Studies

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Neda Bolourchi

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Rutgers University

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