Battling Truths

Defending the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sacred Memories in Film and Literature

Debates around the war with Iraq (1980-1988) are very much alive in Iran today. What do these debates mean nearly 30 years since the war’s end?
A cornerstone of its existence, the Iran-Iraq war entrenched the newly established Islamic Republic and provided the means for its consolidation of power in the country. Officially recognized as the “War of Sacred Defense” the Iranian government’s narrative of the war, since the 1980s, has been one of righteous victimhood led by selfless heroes and martyrs who valiantly fought a war inspired by the martyrdom of the third Shi‘i Imam, Husayn, at Karbala. Yet, today much of the country’s population no longer remembers the war and increasingly challenges official narratives.  This panel will include talks about literature and film from and about the Sacred Defense in Iran today and what it means for the future of the Islamic Republic.

Event Information


Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Richard Ettinghausen Library
Kevorkian Centre
50 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

The speakers

Narges Bajoghli

Narges Bajoghli is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural Anthropology at New York University, where her research focuses on pro-regime cultural producers in Iran. Her dissertation is entitled: “Paramilitary Media: Revolution, War, and the Making of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and is supported by dissertation research grants from the Social Science Research Council, The Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, NYU’s Torch Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation (awarded/declined).

Amir Moosavi

Amir Moosavi is completing his PhD through the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. His dissertation, “Reimagining a War: Negotiating Ideology and Disenchantment in Literary Narratives of the Iran-Iraq War,” is a comparative study of the aestheticization of violence and formation of alternative narratives of the Iran-Iraq War in Persian and Arabic fiction. He is currently a graduate fellow at the Humanities Initiative at NYU.