This first conversation with Alex Shams (the second will occur in Palestine this coming February) takes for site the Iranian city and the politics of gender exercised in it, both under the regime of the Shah and during these last thirty-five years in the context of the Islamic Republic. We start by establishing the framework of our critique and the traps to avoid—the example of Mehran Tamadon’s recent film Iranian (2014) being illustrative for this matter. Alex takes us then in his research articulating both the ideological/imaginary and the physical/urban context of gender politics in Iran. This includes a ‘chapter’ about the 2009 green movement that followed the manufactured re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and whose occurrence and suppression were conditioned by the urban space.
Alex Shams is an Iranian-American journalist based in the West Bank. He is a co-editor-in-chief of Ajam Media Collective (ajammc.com), a blog focused on society and culture in Iran and Central Asia. He also works for Ma’an News, the largest Palestinian news agency.