Call for Contributions on Iranian War Cinema

My colleague, Dr. Pedram Khosronejad of the Society of Iranian Anthropology, sent me this call for contributions. I thought I’d help him out and spread the word.

The content will eventually be published in an edited book, from what I understand. Here is what Pedram is looking for,

“The aim of this volume is to broaden the discussion on Iranian war cinema through the categories of martyrdom, national identity, ethnic diversity and discourses on gender. In this volume focus will be on both feature and documentary films, and also on topics such as:

  • Iranian war cinema as a propaganda machine.
  • The political framework of Iranian war cinema.
  • Identifying the theological attitudes and socio-cultural aspects of war and
    martyrdom in Iranian war cinema.
  • Investigating the dichotomy of presence and absence through testimony,
    survival and memory as well as the representation of war symbols in Iranian war cinema.
  • Comparative studies between Iranian war cinema and war cinema in general.

More topics will be considered of course. Papers should be about eight thousand words in length. Black and white illustrations can be included. Papers should reach Dr. Pedram Khosronejad, the editor, by the end of November 2007, if possible.

Below the fold, I have included an excerpt from Pedram’s email to me that briefly explains martyrdom, the Iranian Revolution, and the Iran-Iraq war.

The theme of Martyrdom within the context of Islam was central to the Iranian Revolution and to the subsequent war between Iran and Iraq, which Iranians call, “The Sacred Defense”: “(Defaie Moqadas)”.

From 1980 to 1988 there were 2920 days of “Imposed War” (another common term used by Iranians). Nonetheless, this horrible human disaster has been largely ignored by the world. The war left at least 300,000 dead on the Iranian side (Martyrs in Iranian discourse) and injured more than 500,000, out of a total population of approximately 60 million.

The Iran-Iraq clearly had a vast social and psychological impact on Iranian society. It is well worth inquiring about the reality and the impact on daily life for Iranians in wartime as a step toward more general conclusions about connections between war and society.

Images of war are shocking reminders of what actually happened and are, moreover, references for the future generations. Carefully preserved in folklore and enthroned as tradition, these images can be invoked for political purposes that transcend party and class factionalism, and serve to unite the nation in a supreme sacrifice for national purposes.

Iranian war cinema was born after the beginning of war. However it took many years to develop, and even today strives to find its own language, manner, and identity. Iranian feature war films, like most of war films globally, mostly concentrate on the home-front rather than on the conflict itself, and they are quite diverse, including epics, tragedy, and comedy.

From, “Narration of Triumph: War In The Documentary Cinema Of Post-Revolutionary Iran,
“Iranian films (documentary& fiction) on war have been generally disregarded as objects of serious study, except by those who have been themselves involved in their production and distribution. However, today, about two decades after the end of the war, it is the time to have a more detached and dispassionate look at them. Depicting the warfront as a new Karbala and fighting as a kind of worship, proof of love of God and means of understanding the meaning of the life, they are unique filmic enterprises worthy of objective assessment. Another category of war-related Iranian films are those concerning the aftermath of the war, especially the problems of the wounded and disabled veterans…” – R. Safarian, 2007.

One thought on “Call for Contributions on Iranian War Cinema

  1. It is not true that “Iranian films (documentary& fiction) on war have been generally disregarded as objects of serious study, ”

    If you are interested in this topic there has been a very comprehensive work done called “Warring souls, martyrdom, media and youth in post-Revolution Iran,” Roxanne Varzi, duke University Press, the book deals with precisely these issues. Varzi is the first to write about Morteza Aveini, and many other issues related to the war

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