There are many ways to think conceptually about an Islamic state like Iran’s Islamic Republic. In this talk, Alireza Doostdar (University of Chicago) will adopt the rather uncommon approach of thinking about the state in terms of the ways in which it is objectified in the bodies of its subjects: how it articulates their gestures, imprints itself in their ethical comportments, finds expression through their intimacies, and so on. More specifically, he will examine the ways in which pious self-cultivation is entangled with bureaucratic practice, and the tensions that arise between objectification and intimacy in the struggle to be a better Muslim.
Alireza Doostdar is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the Anthropology of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His first book, The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny, is published by Princeton University Press.