An Oppenheimer Chair Brown Bag Lunch Seminar with Chowra Makaremi.
NOV. 16, 2011 - 12:30 PM TO 1:30 PM
Faculty of Law, New Chancellor Day Hall, room 609
3644 rue Peel, Montreal, H3A 1W9, Quebec, Canada
Aziz’s notebook (Le cahier d’Aziz, Gallimard, 2011) offers a new insight on the 1979 revolution in Iran and its aftermath, specifically regarding episodes of large-scale collective violence that have been occulted in the official historical narratives of the Islamic state. The book is based on the unpublished written memoirs of the author’s grand-father, recalling in detail the history of his two daughters imprisoned in 1981, one of whom was executed the same year, and the other (the author’s mother) in 1988.
Post-revolutinary violence in Iran ended up in the 1988 mass execution of thousands of political prisoners, which was covered-up by confiscation of the dead bodies, secret mass graves and state interdiction of funeral rites and burials on the families. The absence of sepulture and the impossibility of ritualized mourning after 1988 show how politics of death were used not only to suppress opponents and minorities, but also to govern a population who lived in terror and brought the wounded memory of dead without funerals.
How did practices of disappearance shape the memorialization of violence and its intergenerational legacy, while there remains no resolution or recognition? How are issues of remembering, justice and forgetting translated into politics and lived in the every-day life?
Political disappearance, interdiction of funeral, “webs” of terror and surveillance around targeted individuals, their families and social networks: state repression since 2009 in Iran is using the same techniques of power than in the 1980s to achieve control over civil society and population at large, and the perpetrators of the massacres have remained in power. This testimony on the everyday experience of post-revolutionary repression contributes to understand what is happening today in Iran, and the challenges facing revolutions in the Middle East.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Chowra Makaremi is a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. She holds a PhD in anthropology from the Université de Montréal.
She works on issues of migration and security, the anthropology of law and the state, and processes of subjectivation at the margins. She is the author of Le cahier d’Aziz. Au cœur de la révolution iranienne (Paris: Gallimard, 2011).