A Series of Symposia on Iranian Cultural History at New York University

Iran: Animating the Archive

October 2015-March 2016


Archives are integral in offering insights into a society’s social, political, cultural, and economic past, but what happens when political upheaval results in the scattering of archives, both official and unofficial, personal and public?

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, some official archives were destroyed for ideological reasons, others for espousing “improper culture,” and some simply to change the historical narrative. Nearly four decades after the Iranian Revolution, a new generation of Iran scholars are now researching the socio-cultural history of Iran in the years leading up to and following the Revolution, and are faced with a haphazard selection of resources.

Animating the Archive presents a series of symposia to gather together artists, archivist, academics and researchers to re-imagine archives of Iranian history.  Discussions activate and animate a variety of archival practices by examining processual and compositional elements through which archives are created and made available. The symposia pose a number of questions regarding what the archive can offer, such as:

  • What happens to archives after moments of national upheaval and ideological disagreements? 
  • What role do disaggregate archives play? 
  • What roles do these archives play and what culture do they keep? What culture is missing? 

The goal of this series is to encourage debate and the opportunity to rethink how official and unofficial archives can offer publics valuable resources into Iranian history and can reanimate provocative retellings of Iranian cultural history.

The series is organized by Narges Bajoghli and Leili Sreberny-Mohammadi, both PhD candidates in Sociocultural Anthropology at New York University. 

The series is generously supported and sponsored by the following centers, departments, and initiatives at New York University: 

Community Sponsors: 

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