Burning Visions: The Iranian New Wave and the Politics of the Image, 1962-1979


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Cultural Studies and Film Studies


This dissertation is the first in-depth study of the founding years of the Iranian New Wave cinema, from 1962 to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. It focuses particularly on the New Wave’s expression of a longstanding antagonism between state and society in Iran. Through formal analyses of ten New Wave films by figures such as Forough Farrokhzad, Fereydoun Rahnema, and Kamran Shirdel, this project demonstrates that the New Wave draws on centuries of varied media practices (poetry, Islamic iconography, architecture, and regional textile arts) in order to put forth its own intermedial history of art and antagonism. From this perspective, it is impossible to understand Iran’s contemporary national imaginary without the New Wave. This dissertation is thus both a theory of the cinema and a cultural and social history of contemporary Iran.