Sexuality and Cultural Change in Iranian Cinema

Bilingual Lecture Series

Sexuality and Cultural Change in Iranian Cinema

A lecture in Persian by Kamran Talattof (University of Arizona)

Sunday, October 8, 2017
4:00 PM
121 Dodd Hall

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The history of Iranian cinema adequately reflects the construction of gender in Iran. But the expression of sexuality is a problematic notion on a number of levels. In western societies, the preoccupation with human sexuality prompted reflection about human physiology, gender identity, and ethical considerations, resulting in the perception of sex as ontologically separate from mere reproduction, eventually facilitating sexual expression. In traditional segments of Iranian society, sex outside of marriage for women was deemed synonymous with sin. Analyzing movies from the pre- and post-revolutionary eras, a case is made that Iranian cinema, albeit tributary to socio-political tribulations, has also been a major agent for change, and partially responsible for the reification of gender and sexuality as central points of contention among different social players in Iran. Whereas in the pre-revolutionary period, the presentation of the feminine, the female body, and sexuality was linked to a greater westernization project, and resulted in a backlash in more traditional segments of society, in the revolutionary era, those representations were confronted with the new Islamic codes of morality, which all filmmakers were forced to respect.

Kamran Talatof (Ph.D. Univ. of Michigan, 1996) is the Roshan Institute Chair in Persian and Iranian Studies, as well as the chair of the Roshan Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Persian and Iranian Studies, at the University of Arizona. Many of his research and publications focus on issues of gender, sexuality, ideology, culture, and language pedagogy. He examines how cultural artifacts are created both within, and in response to, prevalent social conditions, political ideologies, and the dominant discourses of sexuality. Talattof is the author, co-author, and co-editor of more than a dozen books and tens of articles including the award-winning Modernity, Sexuality, and Ideology in Iran: The Life and Legacy of a Popular Female Artist. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.


Cost : Free and open to the public

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies, Iranian Studies, with the major support of the Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies, and the Musa Sabi Term Chair of Iranian Studies, and with the generous support of the Farhang Foundation.