Middle East Studies

Minoo Moallem

University of California, Berkeley

Martyrdom, National Memory and Iran-Iraq War Movies

In this paper, I interrogate the representation of martyrdom and masculinity in war movies made in Iran during and after the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988). I elaborate on gender tropes that are mobilized in the film industry to facilitate the emergence of a recognizable subject position that is the subject of an ethical choice and a will to sacrifice his life in war times. Entertainment technologies, I argue, have been crucial in memorizing the war as a national event by staging the possibility of a subject position that chooses to be at war rather than in war.

Minoo Moallem is a professor of Gender and Women's Studies. She is currently Vice Chair of Research and Director of Media Studies.  She is an affiliated faculty with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Berkeley Center for New Media; Center for the Study of Race and Gender; Science; Technology and Society Center; Blum Center for Developing Economies; Latinx Research Center; Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements; Graduate Group in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Center for New Racial Studies, A Multi-Campus Research Program. 

Moallem is the author of Persian Carpets: The Nation As a Transnational Commodity, Routledge, 2018; Between Warrior Brother and Veiled Sister: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Cultural Politics of Patriarchy in Iran, University of California Press, 2005, the co-editor (with Caren Kaplan and Norma Alarcon) of Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms and The State, Duke University Press, 1999, and the guest editor of a special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East on Iranian Immigrants, Exiles and Refugees. She has published in many academic journals including Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Feminist Studies, Meridians: feminism, race, and transnationalism, Sociologies et Sociétés, Das Argument,  Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture, Brown Journal of World Affairs, Nimeye Digar, Documentation Sur La Recherche Feministe, and Journal of Feminist Studies of Religion. Trained as a sociologist, she writes on transnational and postcolonial feminist studies, commodity cultures, cultural studies, immigration and diaspora studies, Middle Eastern studies, and Iranian cultural politics and diasporas.

Professor Moallem has also ventured in digital media. Her digital project “Nation-on-the Move”(design by Eric Loyer) was published in Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular (Special issue on Difference, Fall 2007).  

Keywords: war, masculinity, martyrdom, entertainment technologies, representation, movies