Goldsmiths Centre for Postcolonial Studies
Global Middle East Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr Siavush Randjbar-Daemi (St Andrews)
Chair: Dr Tara Povey (Goldsmiths)
Conventional accounts of 20th century Iranian political history and particularly the Revolution of 1977-79 have focused primarily on a ‘great men’ reading of events: on the agency of the ancien regime and its successors. This approach often omits or reduces the role of actors who played significant roles but ended on the ‘losing’ side of history: those who failed to acquire state power and authority in the post-revolutionary period. This talk will make the case for a more comprehensive study of the Revolution of 1977-79 by focusing upon a variety of political organisations and personalities, both national and regionally-based, whose non-negligible and at times determining role has been consigned to the fringes of the present historiography. These ‘Other Revolutionaries’ include many elements of the diverse Iranian Left of the time, the resilient civil society which re-emerged in 1977 after many years on the fringes of public life, but also local activists in restive regions such as Kurdistan and Azerbaijan. By looking at specific phases of the Revolution, particularly its earlier stages, through the prism of the ‘Other Revolutionaries’, the talk will argue that contemporary Iranian history is in need of a rebalancing towards the proposition that losers do indeed matter, and a balanced and sustained study of their agency can result in a more thorough and comprehensive understanding of pivotal events such as the Revolution itself.
Dr Siavush Randjbar-Daemi is Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern at the University of St Andrews. He previously served as Lecturer in Iranian History at the University of Manchester. His research interests include the evolution of the state in modern and contemporary Iran, the history of the Iranian Left in the 20th century and its transnational connections as well as the history of the political press.
Centre for Postcolonial Studies Website
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