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Conference: Private lives and public spaces in modern Iran


Organized by the Iran Heritage Foundation, the Oriental Institute (University of Oxford), the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and the Persian Cultural Foundation in association with St. Antony's College and Wadham College (University of Oxford).

Date: 7 -10 July 2005 at St. Antony's College, The Nissan Lecture Theatre, 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford.

Convened by:
Prof. Mohammad Tavakoli-Targhi, University of Toronto.


This conference provides a rare opportunity for the articulation of new research agendas for the reconceptualization of modern Iranian history (from the mid 19th century to the present day) by addressing such themes as the historization of personhood, the family, and modes of intimacy, and friendship.

Due to the overwhelming significance of the Islamic Revolution and the political questions that it posed, historians of modern Iran have focused primarily on political history and have rarely explored the (trans)formations of private and public spheres, the changing spaces that have directly shaped the experience of everyday life. Intimacy, sexuality, and sociability-burgeoning fields of historical studies--have similarly remained unexplored by Iranian historians. Despite considerable feminist interest in Modern Iranian history, many studies have largely abstained from exploring domestic and private lives in Iran. Fetishizing the veil, they have rarely inquired about the subjectivity, agency, and personal lives of women. Similarly, the expanding field of Qajar studies (including the Constitutional Revolution) continues to reproduce worn-out political grand narratives without much attention to the important topic of the emergence of new national public spheres and the reconfiguration of domestic spaces. Similarly, studies of post-revolutionary Iran rarely explore the transformation of the private sphere and the emergence on secular and counter-Islamist modes of sociability and ethos. These changes facilitated the development of new conceptions of the self, subjectivity, the family, and national belonging (Iran and Iranianness). As long as the spaces of everyday experience and their concurrent modes of subjectivity, intimacy, and sociability are not historicized, Iranian cultural, intellectual, religious, literary, art, and gender histories continue to remain within the traditional chronological fold of political history, a continuity that retards historical inquiry and understanding.

By placing the interface of private lives and public spaces at the center of historical inquiry, this conference prompts the development of new directions in the writing of Iranian history.

Registration fee:

80 GBP on or before 1 July, 100 GBP after 1 July (Students: 40 GBP on or before 1 July, 50 GBP after 1 July). For registration form click on



The Iran Heritage Foundation, 5 Stanhope Gate, London W1K 1AH. 44 20 74934766 (tel), 44 20 74999293 (fax),



Two exhibitions will be on display at St. Antony's College in conjunction with the conference. An exhibition of photographs by Mamad Mossadegh entitled Portrait of Iran (for further details see and an exhibition of sculptures by Maryam Salour.


Programme, registration, additional details:
The registration form, programme details and additional information about the conference can be found at:



... Payvand News - 7/5/05 ... --

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