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The State of Resistance: National Identity Formation in Modern Iran

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[While there is a wealth of scholarship on national identity and popular culture in Iran, there is a lack in studies that undertake research in contemporary Iran. As a topic of much debate, discourse on Iran is often framed in outdated and artificial dichotomies such as tradition and modernity. However, in order to ascertain a fuller picture of post- revolutionary Iran, research inside the country is crucial. This study investigates national identity formation in Iran over the last century and the role of identity construction from below in the 1979 revolution. The methods employed in this project include fieldwork, as well as an assortment of source materials, such as music, literature, films, interviews, memoirs, and a variety of others that were obtained inside and outside Iran. In contrast to previous works that focus on the Qajar or Pahlavi eras to determine Iran’s foundation as a modern nation-state, this study endeavors to show the significance of national identity formation as part of the nation-state project. In so doing, this study posits that the modern nation-state of Iran was established in the watershed moment of 1979. Additionally, this project examines the continued efforts of Iranians to exercise their agency and their use of national identity as a tool of resistance. By focusing attention inside Iran, this project can contribute to the field of Iranian Studies and provide further understanding on studies of national identity formation more broadly.]

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