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11 - Between Illusion and Aspiration:

Morteza Avini’s Cinema and Theory of Global Revolution

from Part V - Aspirational Universalisms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2021

Arang Keshavarzian
Affiliation:
New York University
Ali Mirsepassi
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

What did it mean for Iranian revolutionaries to understand the revolution as global? To answer this question, this chapter investigates the idea of enghelab-e jahani (global revolution) in Morteza Avini's documentary films and theoretical writings. Avini was a faithful supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini who dedicated his art and thinking to grassroots mobilizations of Hezbollah volunteers after the revolution. Raised in intellectual and artistic environments of avant-garde art before the revolution, Avini's key intellectual struggle was to reconcile the cosmopolitan nature of his prerevolutionary training in modernist art with postrevolutionary faith in political Islam's assumption that all people are eventually and universally convertible to Islam through the revolution. Navigating between the cosmopolitanism of modern art and the universalist aspirations of political Islam, combined with his socialist commitment to a materially more just society, Avini offered a theory of the global revolution in which the global emerged at the intersection of four discursively distinct categories: global, cosmopolitan, universal, and worldly, all of which reflected the Persian concept of jahani.

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Global 1979
Geographies and Histories of the Iranian Revolution
, pp. 357 - 388
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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