Iran’s ‘Sacred Defence’ and the Politics of Visual Remembrance
Dr Shafaie will take us on a journey from the official discourse of the Iran-Iraq War to the more recent popular war narratives belonging to the Iranian civil society. She will discuss how Iranian leaders perceived and presented the Iran-Iraq War as a ‘Sacred Defence’ and what discursive strategies they used in the building of the Islamic nation-state. She will then show how the Iranian society embarked on making a new generation of war narratives that were multi-vocal and pluralistic in contrast with the monologic war discourse that was engineered by the state. She will illustrate her talk by discussing various vehicles of public visual remembrance such as bank notes, postal stamps, street murals, museums, and films.
Dr Shirin Shafaie studied philosophy, and philosophy of art in Tehran, and Middle East Politics, and Film and TV in London. She completed her doctoral research on ‘Contemporary Iranian War Narratives: A Dialectical Discourse Analysis’ at SOAS, University of London, where she is currently teaching. She also holds a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies in Oxford where she works on inter-textual readings of shared sacred narratives. Her research interests are narrative theory, critical war studies, and faith-based diplomacy. She has worked extensively with victims of chemical weapons and war-related mental illness and has been involved in a number of projects at the Tehran Peace Museum and other civil-society movements for inter-religious peace and dialogue. Besides her research activities, Dr Shafaie is the Director of Visual Academics Ltd. that provides professional filmmaking services to universities.