The protests that have been ongoing in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September, after her detention by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab law, have since crescendoed into one of the largest sustained challenges to the nation’s theocracy since the chaotic months after its 1979 Islamic Revolution. With more than 400 unarmed demonstrators being killed and upwards of 15,000 being arrested (including young children), the protests have had a ripple effect sparking rallies and protests across the globe, including in Portland, as the cries of “Woman, Life, Freedom!” inspire an outpouring of support for reform and regime change in Iran. Iran’s World Cup defeat to the United States this week was surprisingly met by cheers and celebrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities as protesters hailed the country’s exit from the tournament as a blow to the ruling regime.
While protests in Iran have occurred in recent years (notably the 2009 Green Movement protests), the momentum and global reach of the current protests begs the question —how is this movement different and could it trigger actual reform within Iran? What role are Gen-Z activists playing and is it creating tensions between generations? What parallels might be drawn between Iranians and activists here in the U.S. in their collective human desire for social justice and equality?
Join us for a conversation on these and other flashpoints stemming from the protests with Iranian-American artist/activist/educator Taravat Talepasand from Portland State University, whose work explores how women navigate the geographic and physiological boundaries between East and West. Talespasand’s recent “Woman, Life, Freedom” billboard project is pictured above. Talespasand is joined by Robert Asaadi, an Iranian-American political scientist (who’s spoken often for WorldOregon) and author of Postrevolutionary Iran: The Leader, the People, and the Three Powers. Asaadi’s writings and TED Talk offer rich political and cultural perspective on social movements in Iran and their lessons for activism in the U.S.
About the Speakers
Taravat Talepasand is an artist, activist, and educator whose labor-intensive interdisciplinary painting practice questions normative cultural behaviors within contemporary power imbalances. As an Iranian-American woman, Talepasand explores the cultural taboos that reflect on gender and political authority. Her approach to figuration reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in our Western Society. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, de Young Museum, Tufts University, Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, and the Orange County Museum of Art. Taravat is currently an Assistant Professor in Art Practice at Portland State University.
Robert Asaadi is an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Portland Community College and previously taught at Portland State University. He holds an MA and PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, and a BS in Political Science from the University of Iowa. His research and teaching interests include: international relations theory; international security; modern and contemporary Iranian politic; and U.S. Foreign Policy. His first book, Postrevolutionary Iran: The Leader, the People, and the Three Powers, was published with Rowman & Littlefield in April 2021 and was recently released in paperback.
Cosponsored with Portland State University's Middle East Studies Center
As WorldOregon navigates the continued uncertainty of smaller audiences for in-person events coming out of the pandemic, inflation, and the effect of higher costs for our core program areas, your support matters more than ever. Your contribution to a community-based, mission-driven nonprofit like WorldOregon will have a direct impact on the future of our organization. Please consider making a gift to our year-end campaign here.