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Revisiting Discourses of Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Iran and Diaspora

This virtual symposium is an attempt to provide a safe space for public discussions of the nuances around discourses of love and desire in modern Iran, challenging and contributing to the dominant discourses on key topics. From their mundane to their sublime forms, love and desire have played a central role in various discourses in modern Iran. From romantic epics to ghazals, and from arranged marriages to white marriages, and from companionate love to contemporary cohabitations, desire is undoubtedly one of the most important theoretical topics for scholars. This symposium brings together a range of scholars from different disciplines focusing on modern Iran to analyze the wide variety of ways in which love and desire have been represented, imagined, and discursively constructed. Participants will address discourses of love and desire and revisit those discourses considering the implications that they have for larger theoretical debates.

See a full list of speakers and presenters at

September 5, 5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.Panel I: Love and Desire Across borders in Modern Iran and Diaspora

Sept. 12, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.:Panel II: Embodied Bodies, Non-normativity, and Power Dynamics in Modern Iranian Literature and Film

Sept. 19, 12:00p.m. – 1:15 p.m.:Horner Jarrahi Keynote Speaker

Sept. 26, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.:Panel III: Religio-Political Dimensions of Desire in Modern Iran

Sponsors:The American Institute of Iranian Studies, UNC Persian Studies Program, UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, the Department of Asian Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Associate Provost of Global Affairs, the Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Department of History, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Women and Gender Studies, The Department of Geography, The Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries, The Countering Hate Initiative

This event is part of the Countering Hate: Overcoming Fear of Differences initiative, which was launched in the fall of 2019 in the College of Arts & Sciences to foster community and understanding and help students discuss difficult topics.

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