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Representing Iran Memoirs by Iranian Writers in the US

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2022, 79(1), pp.525-563
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.79.1.202202.525
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : February 7, 2022
  • Accepted : February 15, 2022
  • Published : February 28, 2022

Jeong, Sangjun 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the aftermath of 9/11, there was a huge surge in memoirs written by members of the Iranian diaspora in the US that take negative perspectives on Iranian society and culture, which one may interpret as a feature of Orientalism. This paper centers on Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003) to examine particularities and themes of Iranian memoirs and their problematics. In her critique of the Islamic Republic Nafisi situates Iran in the opposite of the West, using a range of binaries between good and evil, democracy and totalitarianism, and civilization and barbarism. She tends to ignore particular conditions of individual Iranians due to her class-based perspective and her lack of compassion and self-reflexivity. The paper claims that Nafisi’s narrative provides a cultural rationale for the US government to intervene in Iran to save Iranian women from the oppression of the totalitarian regime. It also points out the irony wherein the methods and frames that she uses to criticize the Islamic Republic are applied to her own memoir by her critics.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.