Media and Place: Women Life Freedom: Images of the Revolutionary Movement in Iran

Date & Time:

2nd November, 16:00


Hybrid: C588 (5th floor Curzon B) and online


This seminar will focus on the representations of the Jin, Jiyan, Azadi (Women, Life, Freedom) protests in Iran.

This is a hybrid event: to participate in-person, please register at this link. To participate online, pleas register at this link.

Please note that this session is structured in two parts. Due to security concerns, we ask all participants who are joining us online to join the online meeting without video and microphone and to keep them switched off during the first presentation. Immediately following, there will be an initial Q&A, while the chat will be disabled. Moving into the second presentation, the chat will be reactivated and we invite participants to turn on their cameras and microphones. In the subsequent Q&A for online participants, questions can be asked via the chat or directly by raising hands. Thank you for your cooperation.

Ahou Koutchesfahani (Kings College London): Iranian Women’s Digital Activism as Narration of Their Struggle

Social media is an important tool for women’s rights activists to highlight issues facing Iranian women. The discourse on women’s rights in Iran navigates both inside and outside the country, as social media underpins the active transnational Iranian public sphere. Iranian women’s rights struggles have historically been politicised, from Reza Shah’s unveiling act in 1936 banning women from wearing the veil, to Khomeini’s veiling act in 1983 enforcing the veil on women. What has been the role of social media in furthering women’s rights discourse in the transnational Iranian public sphere and how has it shaped the ongoing revolutionary feminist movement for bodily autonomy that we are witnessing today?

Dr Alena Strohmaier (Philipps-Universität Marburg) Pixelated Images: Reflections on the Current Protests in Iran

Drawing on historical precursors from the Green Movement in 2009 and the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, this presentation investigates dynamics and aesthetics of pixelation in images of the current protests in Iran. Pixelation is hereby understood as an act that conceals, impeding and preventing a specific image element, and, at the same time, highlights the importance of the pixelated area, thus bringing it back into the focus of attention. Pixelation is therefore to be understood performatively and in affective relation to its viewers. As a research-in-progress, this presentation addresses activist, postcolonial, ethical, and artistic questions and methodologies.

About the speakers:

Ahou Koutchesfahani is a PhD Candidate at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London with a focus on social media and Iranian women’s rights discourse. Her research interests include Iran, digital feminist activism, disability rights and ableism in social movements.

Dr Alena Strohmaier is Project Lead of the research project Cinematic Appropriation Processes of Protest Videos from the Middle East and North Africa based at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany, and initiator and editor of the Open Media Studies Blog.