Buoyed by their triumphant revolution in 1979, Iranian Islamists promptly converted their popularity into efforts to eliminate all political opponents. Nearly four decades later, their monopoly of political power has
Buoyed by their triumphant revolution in 1979, Iranian Islamists promptly converted their popularity into efforts to eliminate all political opponents. Nearly four decades later, their monopoly of political power has enabled them to block the formation of an effective secular and/or anti-religious opposition. The main exception to this trend has been the Green Movement, which since 2009 has been fuelled by reformist religious discourse, rather than by non-religious ideologies. Although this movement has to date remained largely ineffectual, striking is the way it has been nourished by well-developed conceptual re-articulations of religion-state relations.
This seminar will show how the groundwork for this re-articulation was laid by religious intellectuals and jurists who, disillusioned by their lived experience of the Islamic state, initiated a move towards a new Islamic reformation. It will explore the ways in which this reformation seeks to repudiate the politico-religious foundations of the Islamic revolution by imagining a serious if paradoxical counter-revolutionary alternative to the Islamic state: a secular democracy that enables genuine religiosity to flourish.
Naser Ghobadzadeh’s research interests lie in the study of Islamic political theology, secularism, state-religion-society relations, and Middle East and Iranian politics. Conceptualising the notion of electoral Theocracy, Naser is also working on authoritarian resilience in Iran in an exploration of the contribution of repeated elections to the durability of authoritarianism. He holds a PhD (University of Sydney, 2012) and an MA in Political Science (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran 2001) and is the author of Religious secularity: a theological challenge to the Islamic state (Oxford University Press, 2014), Caspian sea: legal regime, neighbouring countries and US policies (Farhang-e Gofteman, 2005) and A study of people’s divergence from ruling system (Farhang-e Gofteman, 2002).
(Wednesday) 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Woolley Common Room
John Woolley Building, University of Sydney
Sydney Democracy Networksdn@sydney.edu.au