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Performing Persianicity: Iranian Masculinities in Diaspora and Beyond

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This dissertation examines masculinities in relation to Pahlavi-era Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, within diaspora, as well as the limitations of an ethno-cultural/gender study through ideologies of postidentification. "Performing Persianicity" functions as trope and designation throughout of constructed formulations and manifestations of masculinities, as well as anchoring reminder of performance as primary filter for the analyses undertaken. "Performing Persianicity" examines citings of masculinities in relation to Iranianisms from the 1970s to the current moment and the navigation of the phenomena under question moves neither chronologically, nor teleologically, but within the backdrop of a matrix under construction throughout the last 40 years.

Chapter 1, "Persianicity Proxies for Maardahnehgee," defines Persianicity as a performative demarcation and effect of ideologies instituted by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The Persianization of the subject, or identification as Persian, is argued as a production indebted to engagements with a set of qualities that would strive to make visible resonances marking this strain of masculinity. The turn from the ethnicized Iranian to the diasporic Persian is evidenced through the 1971 2,500th Anniversary Celebration of Iran, the work of comedian Maziar Jobrani, and the film House of Sand and Fog. In Chapter 2, "Mourning Masculinities," the diasporic masculinized subject is introduced within spaces of mourning and through a focus upon gendered subjectivity in relation to the ideologies of loss and trauma. The investigation is undertaken with focus upon Babak Shokrian's film America So Beautiful, using supplemental assistance from photographic archives of Los Angeles.

"Sacrificial Masculinities in Crisis," Chapter 3, unveils tactical and strategic maneuvers wherein sacrificial masculinities are evacuated in the attempted production of a unique strain of Islamic masculinity unrealized prior to the Shah, or within diaspora. The space to secure Islamic masculinized identification is problematized in the face of modernity, and analyzed through the work of artist Sadegh Tirafkan, Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, and the situation of activist Majid Tavakoli.

Chapter 4, "Performing Postidentifications," focuses upon borderline presences, wherein the subject is located neither within nor outside of the ethnic, the national, or those "real" behaviors that manufacture apparitions of consistent identification. The installation of the prefix "post" to the idea of identification is achieved through the interrogation of a subject who no longer identifies within borders, nor the ethnic paradigm, and traced through the work of artist Shahram Entekhabi and the personae of rock band Queen's Freddie Mercury.

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This item is under embargo until March 30, 2026.