Iran: Politics of Resistance

9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

This conference is dedicated to Kian Tajbakhsh.

What do social movements require to succeed? What internal and external elements are involved? And, what are the options for non-violent resistance when a government constantly and violently suppresses calls for change?

This conference explores the strategies and tactics of everyday resistance, in particular that of women and the youth, in the face of systematic electoral fraud, a non-democratic constitution, a ruler with virtually unrestricted power, and a constant crackdown on civil society. How should internal resistance to a repressive theocratic regime be supported from the outside?Focusing on Iran’s recent, controversial June presidential elections, the conference is organized into three panel discussions:

9:30  Panel I: Contentious Politics—From Revolution (1979) to “Revolution” (2009)?
In the Western media and Iran, supporters and opponents of the so-called Green Movement both have used the term “velvet revolution” to describe what Iran has gone through in the aftermath of its June presidential election. What are the local, regional, and global factors that facilitate and block sociopolitical changes in the country?

  • Intro: Simon Critchley (The New School)
  • Charles Kurzman (University of North Carolina)
  • Abdolali Rezai (University of Calgary)
  • Danny Postel (Journalist and Activist)


1:30  Panel II: Everyday Life—Women, Youth, and Endangered Scholars
Even when deprived of their civic and political rights, people do not cease to develop new methods of resistance against the ideological and suppressive discourses of power. In particular, the role of youth and Iranian women has been the most essential in this struggle. To illustrate the many aspects and continuation of resistance, both inside and outside Iran, the second panel will discuss several recent examples, such as the impact of the post election actions on the universities in Iran..

After an introduction by Arien Mack , the panel will show a video about Kian Tajbakhsh.

  • Intro: Jeffrey Goldfarb (New School)
  • Bitta Mostofi (Lawyer and Activist)
  • Soheila Vahdati (Journalist and Activist)
  • Nader Hashemi (University of Denver

Panel II ends with a single channel video/audio installation by Shirin Neshat, entitled “The Last Word.


4:30  Panel III: Ethical Demands of the Green Movement
What is the nature of the political and ethical demands generated by the Green Movement with regard to the International Community? Iran’s future course will play a key role in the whole Middle East region and, ultimately, in geopolitics. What forms should Western support and solidarity take and which “solutions” should be avoided?

  • Intro: Andrew Arato (The New School)
  • Ramin Jahanbegloo (University of Toronto)
  • Ervand Abrahamian (CUNY)
  • Hadi Ghaemi (International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)

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Tishman Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

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