Dual Society and Culture Wars in Iran

A lecture by:

Huchang Chehabi, Boston University

Lifestyle issues have been at the forefront of important tensions and conflicts in Iranian society for over a century. The origin of these tensions lies in the adoption by many Iranians of elements of European everyday culture that other Iranians found offensive. By the 1960s the differential adoption of Western ways by different Iranians had resulted in a dual society, and the tensions between the two segments of this dual society were one of the elements that sparked the revolution of 1979. Under the Islamic Republic, lifestyle issues have been the object of much state policy, engendering resistance among a growing number of Iranians to the point where the seemingly unending tussles over veiling, public concerts, and coffee shops are often called “culture wars.” This talk traces the development of the dual society syndrome and the culture wars that have accompanied it.

Event Information


Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

5:00 – 7:00 pm


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


Huchang Chehabi, Boston University

Huchang Chehabi is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. He has published two books, Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran under the Shah and Khomeini (1990) and Distant Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the Last 500 Years (2006). He has also co-edited Politics, Society, and Democracy: Comparative Studies (1995); Sultanistic Regimes (1998); Iran’s Constitutional Revolution: Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations, and Transnational Connections (2010); and Iran and the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century: Essays in Honoour of Mohammad-Reza Djalili (2013).