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This article is concerned with interregional trade dynamics between Elam and Mesopotamia in the early to mid-first millennium BC. During the seventh century BC, two great famines in the Neo-Elamite kingdom, of which climatological changes were a major cause, were documented in the textual records. An era of megadrought made grain procurement from the neighboring regions essential to feed the Neo-Elamite lowland population. This article further explores the impact of the two Neo-Elamite famines and “drought of the century” on the commercial and political mechanisms in the Upper Persian Gulf region.
This article examines the chapter on īhām (literary amphiboly) in Ḥadāʾiq al-Siḥr by Rashīd Vaṭvāṭ (d. 1182). Ḥadāʾiq, a treatise on stylistics with Persian and Arabic examples, is the oldest extant document to define īhām. Vaṭvāṭ's definition of īhām sheds light on the mechanism and function of this literary technique. This article argues that īhām, according to Vaṭvāṭ, operates through the creation of semantic fields and defamiliarization. Previous scholars who examined this chapter of Ḥadāʾiq, oblivious to this point, have made a number of misinterpretations. However, by analyzing the name he prefers for this figure of speech, the definition he gives, and the examples he cites to explain it, this article demonstrates that Vaṭvāṭ had this function of defamiliarization in mind.
The staff of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU), an international educational philanthropy, were professionally and personally buffeted by health and medical concerns. This article examines the value of their letters, arguing they serve as a deep reservoir of biased yet valuable evidence that corroborates other sources while also providing insight into the health and disease conditions of Iran's provincial cities. This article also asks why, in the early twentieth century, AIU staff failed to acknowledge Iranians who were similarly invested in medical services and public hygiene. Ultimately, the letters help scholars witness historical evolutions in Iran and in the AIU staff's understandings of the Iranian social and medical landscape they inhabited.
This paper examines the Pahlavi Dynasty Museum, which was inaugurated in 1976 during the celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of Pahlavi rule. Built inside the Marble Palace, the shah's former residence in the center of Tehran, the museum was intended to memorialize the achievements of the Pahlavis, presenting the official Pahlavi version of Iran's modern history. The museum was unique in many respects, not least because it was the only former Pahlavi palace that had been converted into a museum to honor the Pahlavis, but it shared the objectives of other museums constructed during this period. During the late Pahlavi era, a major aspect of the state's cultural policy was to sponsor initiatives that strengthened the official state narrative, which argued that the Pahlavis were the legitimate heirs of a 2500-year-old monarchical tradition. The article explores how the state attempted to express these narratives through the museum's design and exhibits.
A migrant's journey is no linear trajectory from A to B. It is a fragmented and complex move over different regions with alternating periods of mobility and immobility. This article researches the complex dynamics of irregular migration from Iran to the Netherlands, and everywhere in between. Through a historical comparison of the life stories of Iranian asylum seekers in the Netherlands in two time periods (1988–1989 and 2009–2010), it studies the routes they took, their relations with human smugglers, and their interactions with immigration policies and border managements along the way. It shows migrants' and smugglers’ flexibility and capacity to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Migration politics and border controls, along with their increasing limitations on legal migration channels, are indeed crucial in the understanding of irregular migration practices and the ever-growing involvement of facilitating services. Through a combination of this migration policy research and the migration trajectory research, the paper explores these dynamics and the interactions between migrants, smugglers, and state policies in every phase of their journey from Iran to the Netherlands, and everywhere in between.
The editorial decision to publish a roundtable on the 2022–23 protests in Iran has come with challenges and obvious limitations due to access and immediacy. The ambition of this intervention is to offer some initial reflections and some analytical instruments in the hope that they will be useful for future publications. We also want to write in this moment because we want to register its characteristics—emotions running high, the quick detours of power relations between the state and the protesters, the uncertainty, the changing political weight of the diaspora—along with the difficulty of doing analytical work in the midst of such processes.
Over the past four months, the brutal, extralegal, and violent repression of protestors during the Woman, Life, Freedom movement in Iran has taken observers and participants by devastating and sometimes fatal surprise. Although not a drastic departure from past practices, the large scale and seemingly random acts of violence, such as the beating of protestors to death on the streets, the shooting of passersby and nonviolent demonstrators point blank, and the fatal torturing of detained protestors and activists, have marked new levels and scales of violence. In what follows I analyze this brutal repression campaign in relation to the institutional history of the Islamic Republic's armed units, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as the most controversial entity among all. I contend that the IRGC's historic endorsement of firing at will as an accepted practice among its ranks has enabled the decentralized radical instances of violence. I will discuss how, despite the continued reliance on decentralized forces, their firing at will is not unanimously endorsed this time around, due to the different nature of the current movement and the deepening uncertainties and schisms in both the forces on the ground and the ruling elite.
In this intervention, we discuss the ongoing protest movement and the quasi-revolutionary situation in Iran with the goal of offering contextual as well as background analysis. Our objective is to examine the current wave of revolutionary politics in the frame of a longer history, that is, the one of the “unaccomplished” 1979 revolution. We do not argue that the current movement is in continuity with the so-called Islamic revolution; rather, we ask what afterlives of the 1979 revolution and successive waves of mobilizations reverberate within the current situation. We do so from a political transformative vantage point, which we understand as inherently feminist, in that we refuse to recognize any hierarchy between the struggles, the issues, and the demands as expressed by the protesters. Indeed, we understand liberation as a collective project resulting from the intersection of struggles, demands, and issues. Following this line of reasoning, we interrogate the current moment along three thematic axes: the social composition, the prospects for political convergence, and the genealogy, or the ideational connection, of the current struggle with those of the past.
At the zenith of the Women, Life, Freedom (WLF) protests in October to December 2022, the call for (general) strikes became a rallying point for activists who were seeking to increase the protests’ social reach and political strength in the face of increasing state repression. Therefore labor provides an advantageous analytical lens for exploring some of the constraints and potentials of the social dynamics of the WLF protests.
One of the most prominent features of Iran's 2022 Woman, Life, Freedom uprising has been the diverse profusion of songs created in its wake. Music has played an important role in Iran's social and political movements at least since the Constitutional Revolution when the poet and musical bard Abolqasem Aref Qazvini (d. 1934) effectively transformed the musical concert into a political congregation. Since then, musicians have given rhythm and rhyme to contentious movements all through modern Iranian history, most prominently during the 1979 revolution and again for the 2009 Green Uprising. Considering the important role of music in Iran's political movements, scholarship on music remains surprisingly marginal in Iranian studies.
The world's first encounter with the tragic murder of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by Iran's “morality police” was through her image. As millions around the world browsed through news and social media, they were shocked by the image of the unconscious Amini hooked up to ventilators—her punishment for showing some hair through a loosely worn scarf (Fig. 1). The photograph was so influential that a week after its release, its brave photographer, journalist Niloofar Hamedi, was imprisoned. Despite government pressure, artists began reproducing this horrific image. In stylized reiterations, the portrait of Amini was at times coupled with mourning songs or counterrevolutionary music, as in the colorful animation by Belgium-based Iranian artist Niknaz Khalouzadeh that went viral overnight.