The Podcast for Social Research, Episode 4: “The Simmering Period”: Iran, After 2009

This is a supplemental episode of our podcast series, “The Podcast for Social Research.” In this episode, I (Ajay) have an informal conversation with of our Fellows, Soraya Batmanghelichi, about the situation within Iran after the controversial 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We discuss the current political situation in Iran, a bit of history, the status of the “Green Movement” and the women’s movement in Iran today, and the role of new and old technologies in all of these. There’s also a bit about the strange, contemporary, and co-producing transmission and feedback of discontent between the Green Movement, the Arab Spring, and even Occupy Wall Street. Occasionally, you’ll hear us talk strangely around, under, and sometimes completely edited out concerning certain subjects that were deemed potentially too sensitive. We hope you understand. And pardon all the Wikipedia in the notes this time (and thank them for their efforts): lots of great, peer-reviewed sources are paywalled in one way or another. And, as always, please see our Notations section after the jump for some references, time stamps and topics. I will also post a follow-up blog post in the near future with some of the future reading suggestions that Soraya mentions at the end of the podcast. Enjoy!

(You can download here by right-clicking and “save as” or look us up on iTunes)

The Podcast for Social Research, Episode 3: “The Simmering Period”: Iran, After 2009


00:00:00 – (Music: “Stillwell Ave.” by El Diablo Robotico)

00:00:25 – Introductions and Recording in the Morning

00:01:24 – On Conferences, Networking, Misinformation, “Islam,” Money

Edward Said. Orientalism
Edward Said. Culture and Imperialism
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
Mahmood Mamdani. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

00:04:30 – On Iran after 2009, Mainstream Media Attention, the Green Movement

Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran) Ali Khamenei         
Friday Prayer in Tehran
Majles (the parliament of the Islamic Republic)
Council of Guardians (and other unique official bodies in the Islamic Republic)
Wilfried Buchta. Who Rules Iran?: The Structure of Power in the Islamic Republic
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mohammad Khatami 
Incident at the British Embassy in Tehran in Nov.
Boy Scouts
Juice Box

00:12:36 – On the Green Movement, 2009 and Today, the Economic Crisis in Iran, Technology, Strategic Crises

Mir Hossein Mousavi
Mehdi Karroubi
Gabriel García Márquez. News of a Kidnapping
On Mousavi and Marquez
On the Assassinations of Iranian Scientists [Ed. Note: The silence from American and European scientific communities – usually so quick to defend their colleagues and work from even rhetorical attack – is deafening. If I missed these responses, please do let me know.] Asymmetric Warfare

00:18:54 – On Iranian Electoral Politics

Marja-e taqlid (Grand Ayatollah)
Zahra Rahnavard 

00:23:10 – On “Simmering,” the Green Movement, Internet, Technology, Dissident Ideas

00:27:22 – On the 33rd Anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Hamid Dabashi. Theology of Discontent
Ervand Abrahamian. The Iranian Mojahedin
Ervand Abrahamian. Iran Between Two Revolutions
Ali Ansari. Modern Iran Since 1921
Hamid Dabashi. Iran: A People Interrupted
Cardboard Cutouts of Ayatollah Khomeini And More Cardboard Cutouts of Khomeini
Another Collection of Historical Images (mainly of Khomeini)
David King. The Commissar Vanishes
Hamid Dabashi. Staging a Revolution
Ayatollah Montazeri

00:34:55 – On the Iranian Blogosphere, Social Media, Technology, the Green MovementMedia, Academia 

Jesus Camp (2006) dir. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
John Kelly and Bruce Etling. “Mapping Iran’s Online Public” [Ed. Note: This is an extraordinary interactive resource. In regard to our conversation, it is difficult to pin down exact statistics but it appears that Iran is quite probably the third most active blogging nation, after the United States and China.] Shahnameh (the Iranian “Book of Kings”) [Ed. Note: Another fantastic online resource.] Jalal Al-e Ahmad. Occidentosis
On Twitter’s compromise for Chinese authorities
On Ahmadinejad and the election of 2009 (article from 2009, at the time)

00:53:33 – On the Social Media Question, Iran, the Arab Spring, Facebook, Twitter

Iranian Water Gun Flash Mob
VPN (Virtual Private Network)

01:00:24 – On “The Simmering Period,” Dissemination, the Arab Spring

Charles Hirschkind. The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics
Statler and Waldorf on the Muppet Show [Ed. note: I misspoke and said “Waldorf and Astoria.” I hope they appreciate the free advertising.] On Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Revolution, and Facebook

01:17:53 – On Subjectivity, Self-Expression, Danger, Dissent

Evin Prison and “Notorious Evin Prison”
Haleh Esfandiari
a khar is a “donkey” in Farsi

01:26:17 – On Post-2009 Iran, the Women’s Movement

Shirin Ebadi
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (repeated for direct quotation: “white men saving brown women from brown men”)
Iranian Constitutional Revolution / Constitution (1906-7)
Tehran University
One Million Signatures Campaign

01:38:45 – On the Women’s Movement and “Simmering”

Zanan TV / Zanan TV
Occupy Wall Street
Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson. Foucault and the Iranian Revolution [Ed. Note: I am including this book here only for the important translations of the Foucault essays in its appendix, not for its commentary.] Afsaneh Najmabadi. Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards

01:44:55 – On Iran, Israel, America, Geopolitics

Tehran Bureau (independent, often dual language, Iranian news)
Jadalliyya (another more broadly focused, often dual language, Middle Eastern news source)
Roozonline (independent, dual language, Iranian news)

Technical Details: Recorded on a Samson CO1U into an msi PC running the beta version of the freeware program Audacity 1.3.13 at a rather early hour while consuming coffee, Twinings English Breakfast tea, and egg sandwiches from Jesse’s Deli in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

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