Changing Paradigms Society, Democracy, and Theology In Contemporary Iran
Day two of a two day conference
Sunday, February 21, 20103:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Royce Hall 314
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Day 2, Panel in Persian
The unfolding events in Iran and the creation of a remarkable grass-roots movement that encompasses all social groups and includes people of all ages and educational backgrounds, have lead many to seek new analysis on contemporary Iran. The processes that have rapidly engulfed almost the entire nation since the June 12, 2009, rigged election, have gained intensity and are defining a new socio-political paradigm for Iran. The implications of the events in Iran observed by millions in the new social media in addition to the traditional ones, reach beyond geographical boarders of Iran. The triumph of the Green movement in Iran will have the potential of changing political systems in the entire Middle East, and may change the current culture of ‘hate and death’ to that of tolerance, democracy, rule of law, and equal opportunity for all in the pursuit of equality, justice, and happiness. What the Iranian people have accomplished so far by pouring into the streets to legally demonstrate for their constitutional upheld rights is huge. The very fact that they have continued to demonstrate in view of the harsh and brutal clampdowns by the Islamic Republic is in itself remarkable. The movement despite the draconian measures has not died out, and is a genuine, widespread, and spontaneous national upheaval resulting from the collective Iranian reaction to thirty years of lies and torture and mismanagement of the national wealth. Iranians are also fed up with the culture of death and the morbid ideology of martyrdom and killing. They desire essential and fundamental change.
The current movement in Iran must be analyzed in multiple ways, and one of the ways we can do this is to provide forums for free discussion and debate on current issues. Amuzegar Seminar and Lecture Series is sponsoring The February 2010 two-day conference.
A Cultural Approach to the Current Democracy Movement in Iran
Shirin D. Daghighian:
Relations Between Secularism and Democracy
Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari:
Legitimacy and the Guardianship of The Jurist
Will MC the Panel
Biographies of the Panelists
Kazem Alamdari received his Ph D. in sociology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urban and his BS from the University of Tehran in Psychology. He has taught at various universities, including UCLA and CSULA. Presently, he is teaching at the Department of Sociology, California State University, Northridge. Alamdari has published four books and numerous articles in English and Persian. They include: (1) Why the Reform Failed: A Critical Study of the Eight Year Reform in Iran:1997-2005 (Los Angeles: Sayeh Publishing Corp, 2008); (2) Why the Middle East Lagged Behind: The Case of Iran (Maryland: University Press of America, 2004); (3) The Global Crisis: A Critique of the Clash of Civilizations and Dialogue Among Civilizations, 2nd edition (Tehran: Nashre Towsea, 2003); and (4) a best seller that reached to 16th edition Why Iran Lagged Behind and the West Moved Forward (Tehran: Gam-e Nou & Nashr-e Towsea, 2000 – 2009). Alamdari’s articles include: 1. “Elections as a Tool to a Sustain Theological Power Structure” in The Iranian Revolution at 30ty, the Middle East Institute, 2009; 2. “Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, A Vehicle of Democracy or an Obstacle to Democracy?” In Encyclopedia of Iran, 2008; “The Power Structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Transition from Populism to Clientelism and Militarization of the Government,” in the Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 8, pp 1285-1301; 3. “Religion and Development Revisited: Comparing Islam and Christianity with Reference to the Case of Iran,” in the Journal of Developing Societies, London: Sage, Vol 20(1-2): 125-144 [ this article has been one of “The 50 Most-Frequently-Read Articles” in the past four years, reaching number 2 in January 2005]; 4. “Terrorism Cuts across the East and the West: Deconstructing Lewis’ Orientalism”, in the Third World Quarterly: Journal of Emerging Areas, London, Vol. 24 (1), Spring 2003; 5. “The Sept. 11th Tragedy: A Vertical Clash of Civilizations,” Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis (CIRA), Vol. 17, No.1, Boston, MA: March 2005. The End of History, or the Return of History: A Review of the Political Aspects of Globalization, Iran-emrooz.net, May 25, 2008. Bring Back America’s Better Half: American people are hoping for a deep and genuine change, Iranian, April 1, 2008.The Impasse of the Election in Iran, Iran-emooz, Jan. 28, 2008, , Does the Reformist a chance to get to power? An analysis of the Eight Parliamentary Election in Iran, Sec. 05, 2007, The Democratic Republic, (Joumhori), The Possible War between Iran and the US, and its Consequences, Iran-Erooz.net, Nov. 12, 2007. Alamdari is a public intellectual and is frequently featured in the media and presents lectures at national and international conferences in different parts of the world, including the US, the former Soviet Union, Canada, Germany, Turkey, China, Japan, S. Korea, and Brazil. He was recipient of a fellowship from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) in Japan, Kyushu University in1997.
Shirin D. Daghighian. Writer and researcher in the fields of philosophy, history of philosophy, and literary theory, also known as the Persian commentator and translator of Roland Barthes, Martin Buber, and Philip S. Berg (the renowned Kabbalist). She has published 20 books in the above-mentioned fields. Many of them are regularly read and discussed by Iranian students in related programs at universities of Iran, among them are: House of Worship in Jewish History & Philosophy; Literary Prototypes. Her latest publication is a collection of socio-philosophical articles, titled: “Epistemology of Reform,” published in Persian in the United States. Daghighian is a contributor writer of Iran Emrooz, and Iran's National Front - U.S. Section, and Shofar in New York.
Hojjatoleslam Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari is a researcher, journalist, cleric, director of the Ali Shariati Research Center, and contributing editor of the now-banned newspaper Iran-e Farda (The Iran of Tomorrow). Eshkevari trained as a clergyman in the religious and cultural center of Qom and has devoted much of his life to study and writing. He has published extensively in scientific, religious and intellectual journals, and has been an acclaimed contributor to the Great Encyclopedia of Islam and editor of the Encyclopedia of Shi’a. He has translated several books, and his own publications include A Hundred Years of Iranian History 1879-1979 (Qom 1974), Justice in the Monotheistic Worldview (Qom 1975), Broken Idols: An Analysis of the Foundations of Twentieth Century Civilization (Qom 1977), A Review of the Study of Creation: Issues in Islamic Anthropology (Tehran 1997), Religious Revivalism: Analysis and Criticism of the Contemporary Islamic Movement: Interviews with ten political-cultural figures (Tehran, first edition 1998, second edition 1999), Wisdom in the Feast of Religion (Tehran 2000), and In memory of the Days: Political Approaches of the Reformist Movement in Iran (Tehran 2000). Though an active supporter of the 1979 Revolution, Eshkevari became an outspoken and influential critic of the ruling theocracy in Iran. He served four years in prison after having been convicted in the Special Court for the Clergy for a number of charges including "declaring war on God, spreading lies, and insulting Islamic sanctities." As a result of his conviction, he was de-frocked. Eshkevari is also an Honorary Member of the Canadian, Danish, English, and Ghanaian PEN Centers.
Nayereh Tohidi is Professor and Chair of the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at California State University, Northridge and a Research Associate at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA, where she has been coordinating the Bilingual Lecture Series on Iran since 2003. Tohidi earned her BS (with Honors) from the University of Tehran in Psychology and Sociology and MA and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teaching and research areas include sociology of gender, religion (Islam), ethnicity and democracy in the Middle East and post-Soviet Central Eurasia, especially Iran and Azerbaijan Republic. She is the recipient of several fellowships and research awards, including a year of Fulbright lectureship and research at the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan; post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University; Stanford University; the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and the Keddie-Balzan Fellowship at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA. Prof. Tohidi has integrated her human/women’s rights activism and community organizing with excellence in academic work and scholarship. In addition to numerous articles in academic journals and edited books, Tohidi’s publications include editorship or authorship of three books: 1. Globalization, Gender and Religion: The Politics of Women’s Rights in Catholic and Muslim Contexts; 2. Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity; and 3. Feminism, Democracy and Islamism in Iran. Tohidi has been a consultant for the United Nations (UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, and WIDER) on projects concerning gender and development, and women and civil society building in the Middle East and post-Soviet Eurasia. She represented women NGOs at both the third and fourth World Conferences on Women in Nairobi (NGO Forum 1985) and Beijing (NGO Forum 1995) on gender issues in Iran and the post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia. She is frequently consulted by the media and is frequently invited to speak at community events and national and international conferences. In 2001, she ran a weekly radio program on “Women and Society in Iran” broadcast to Iran, Central Asia, and Europe through Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Some of her writings and interviews have been translated and/or reprinted in other languages and in different countries, including Iran, Russia, France, Austria, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Britain, Spain, India, Japan, Lebanon, and Brazil.
Cost : Free and Open to the Public
AmyBruinooge, Center for Near Eastern Studies