Visual Representations of Iran
Conference, Film season, Photographic exhibition - Introduction
13-16 June 2008
University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.
A conference, film season and photographic exhibition that aim to interpret and theorise visual representations of Iran in ethnographic, documentary and feature films, as well as other visual art forms.
ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS & FILMS
The Department of Social Anthropology, the Institute for Iranian Studies and the Centre for Film Studies of the University of St. Andrews and the Iran Heritage Foundation
with the support of Centro Incontri Umani, Documentary & Experimental Film Center, Documentary Filmmakers Society, Farabi Cinema Foundation, Houtan Scholarship Foundation, Iran Cultural Heritage Organisation, Iranian Young Cinema Society, Ravayat-e Fath Institute, Visual Media Institute, Young Filmmaker House.
Programme supervisory board
Prof. Ali Ansari (Professor in Modern History and Director of Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews)
Prof. Roy Dilley (Head of Department of Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews) (Chair)
Mrs. Mahboubeh Honarian (President of Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Society, Iran)
Prof. Dina Iordanova (Professor and Chair in Film Studies, University of St. Andrews)
Dr. Pedram Khosronejad (Department of Social Anthropology and Research Fellow in The Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews)
Prof. Hamid Naficy (Professor of Communication, Department of Radio, TV, Film, Northwestern University)
Mr. Morteza. Rezvanfar (Head of Anthropological Research Centre of Iran Cultural Heritage Organisation).
In recent years, there has been a steady growth in, and global recognition of, the innovative qualities of Iranian cinema and visual arts. Yet, at the same time, Iran occupies an ambiguous place in the imagination of the West. As a field of academic inquiry, contemporary Visual Anthropology opens up a range of possibilities for examining the ambiguities that surround the imaginations and representations of Iran. Drawing from the broad spectrum of theoretical approaches that span the poetics and practice of filmmaking, photography as well as the art and politics of representation, Visual Anthropology poses a series of questions that may be the basis for dialogue and debate over images of Iran between scholars from a variety of disciplines. A four day programme will investigate these issues within the context of a conference, a film season and a photographic exhibition (the exhibition will remain on view after the conclusion of the four day programme).
University of St. Andrews.
13-16 June 2008.
The Department of Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews.
Prof. Roy Dilley (Head of Department of Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews)
Dr. Pedram Khosronejad (Department of Social Anthropology and Research Fellow in The Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews).
Incorporating both Iranian and non-Iranian visualisations, the goal of this conference is to explore anthropologically the wide range of filmic representations of Iran. This is not exclude, of course, the particular genre of ethnographic documentary, but rather the aim is to incorporate it as an object of analysis within a wider understanding of Visual Anthropology.
The conference will gather together anthropologists, ethnographers, film-makers, photographers and artists from Iran and elsewhere, who are interested in the visual representation of Iran. It aims to bring these experts into dialogue to interpret and theorise visual representations of Iran.
Prof. Peter I. Crawford (Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsoe, Norway)
Dr. Rolf Husman (Chairman of Commission on Visual Anthropology, The Institute for Knowledge and Media, Goettingen, Germany)
Prof. Hamid Naficy (Professor of Communication, Department of Radio, TV, Film, Northwestern University).
Call for papers
The production of film and visual arts in Iran has enjoyed a considerable development during the past two decades, not solely by governmental organisations but also by independent film makers and artists (both Iranian and non-Iranian). This has occurred despite the absence of any significant debate in the country regarding theory in relation to visual anthropology and visual arts (photography, painting, multimedia…) or to moving images as a system of meanings. At present insufficient communication between anthropological institutes, anthropologists, independent documentary film-makers, artists and art critic's can be considered to lie at the root of this lack of intellectual engagement over the status of the visual image of Iran. It is evident that study and analysis of contemporary Iran and Iranian society through visual images and representations from an anthropological perspective would be of great value, in that it may stimulate a new scope of vision and insights into Iran and Iranians today. Finally, our grasp of the subject and the style of Iranian ethnographical, documentary films and visual arts can be deepened by an understanding of the broader cultural politics of the government of Iran.
We invite contributions on thematic and stylistic development in anthropological and documentary films, multimedia, photographs, visual arts and on the way these might all reflect and feed upon images contemporary Iran. A subset of related themes involves the connections to international anthropological film making styles or the ethnographic and documentary film traditions, including considerations of emerging national styles within Iran. We invite scholarly, interdisciplinary and carefully documented studies relating to any of the themes spelt out below:
* The political and historical contexts of visual representations of Iran
* Nationalism, national identities and counter narratives of belonging
* Historical development of anthropological and ethnographical filmmaking and visual arts in Iran, its background and origins
* The development of film and visual arts in post revolution Iran and its place in Iranian culture
* Ethnographical and documentary filmmaking and visual arts in post-revolutionary Iran
* Geographical dislocations and diasporic identities
* Visual representations of Iran in the other countries
* War and reconciliation
* Martyrdom and memories of conflict
* Gender issues and the representation of women
* Youth and the post-revolutionary generation
* Orientalism and Islamophobia
* Domestic audiences of films and visual arts and their reactions to them
* Training and careers of Iranian anthropologists, film directors and artists
* Amateur, popular, and video films
Papers and presentations for the conference may include the use of film, video, artwork, and photography.
Instructions for submission of paper abstracts
* Submit an English language abstract of about 200 words (for a 20 minute presentation) using our downloadable form, outlining your proposed topic, your approach, and the forms/media in which you intend to present your work.
* Papers must be delivered in English.
* Click here to download the paper submission form.
Deadline for submission of papers
Abstracts for papers must be submitted no later than 31 January 2008.
Publication of proceedings
It is the intention of the organisers that the proceedings of the symposium will later be published in a book and/ or other forms. Participants must therefore commit themselves not to publish the papers presented at this conference elsewhere.
FILM SEASON: ANTHROPOLOGICAL FILMS ON IRAN
The Department of Social Anthropology and the Centre for Film Studies, University of St. Andrews.
Dr. David Martin-Jones (Lecturer, Centre of Film Studies, University of St. Andrews)
Dr. Pedram Khosronejad (Department of Social Anthropology and Research Fellow in the Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews).
This film season will enable visual anthropologists and filmmakers to present their films about Iran and open a debate about their work. An international jury made up of academics and specialists will select the films.
Call for submission of films
We invite submission of anthropological and documentary films which reflect and feed upon images of contemporary Iran. Themes could include, but should not be limited to, those shown below:
* War and trauma
* Religion, belief and sacredness
* Gender, sexuality and identity
* Music, visual and dramatic art
* Nation, ethnicity and minority
* Nomadic, rural and non-urban societies
* Urbanism and modern life
* Diaspora, exile and nostalgia
* Society, health and illness
* Ritual, myth and symbols
Instruction for submission of films
* Submit an English language film synopsis of about 300-600 words using our downloadable form and a copy of the film (CVD, DVD, VHS).
* Each film should be dubbed in English or with English subtitles.
* Click here to download the film submission form.
Deadline for submission of films
Synopsis of films plus films must be submitted no later than 31 December 20007.
EXHIBITION: KAVEH GOLESTAN - RECORDING THE TRUTH IN IRAN
The Department of Social Anthropology and the Institute of Iranian Studies, University of St. Andrews.
Ms. Hengameh Golestan
Ms. Malu Halasa.
Kaveh Golestan was the photojournalist with the longest continuous presence in Iran from before the Revolution until his death in 2003. This retrospective exhibition of his stark black and white photography covers the period from 1975 to the late 1990s, beginning with his iconic social realism of Tehran's disenfranchised. Golestan was an eyewitness to the Iranian Revolution and his photographs not only capture the major political upheavals that radically changed his country into an Islamic Republic; they are an intimate portrayal of a people and society in rapid transition. His photographs of Ayatollah Khomeini's arrival in 1979 and his riotous funeral a decade later were published in magazines and newspapers around the world. As Carlos Guarita wrote in Golestan's obituary published in the Independent newspaper, wars came to Golestan's door. He has an unrivalled body of work concerning conflict and war, including the Iran-Iraq War, uprisings in Kurdistan and both Gulf wars. He documented the immediate aftermath of Saddam Hussein's chemical attack on Halabja in Kurdistan in 1988. Being so close to death made him celebrate life and his photographs champion the power of ordinary people in the unique spiritual and cultural heritage of his country.
Photography brought Golestan worldwide acclaim. In 1979 he received a Robert Capa Award. However due to the political climate in Iran, it was a prize he collected only thirteen years later. A regular contributor to Time magazine, he became a noted documentary filmmaker. In 1991 he released the acclaimed film Recording the Truth, about the situation of journalists in Iran. He lectured at the Art College at the University of Tehran, where he ended up inspiring a generation of Iranian fine photographic artists and photojournalists who have gone on to international recognition. During this period he continued a life-long project, photographing the city's dispossessed - this time an asylum for mentally ill children, a challenging exposé that was published by the Observer. By 1999 he joined the BBC's Tehran bureau as a cameraman. On 2 April 2003 on assignment, covering war in the way he always did - close up and without fear - he stepped on a landmine and died in Kifri in northern Iraq. He was 52 years old.
The exhibition catalogue Kaveh Golestan 1950-2003: Recording the Truth in Iran (Malu Halasa and Hengameh Golestan, eds.) contains all the images in the exhibition plus additional works by Golestan. It is published by Hatje Cantz, Munich, and the Prince Claus Fund Library, The Hague. Enquiries and additional information and details
Dr. Pedram Khosronejad
Department of Social Anthropology & Institute for Iranian Studies
University of St. Andrews
St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland KY16 9AL
Tel: +44 (1334) 461968
Fax: +44 (1334) 462985
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