I still remember vividly the words of an informant who, when asking him about his vision of a freer Iran, responded adamantly, “we don’t need more freedom, what we need is less corruption”. While such a view is not obviously universally transposable, I think it taps into a certain social current.
As the dust settles on Iran’s recent bout of protests, the surge of commentary, punditry, and analysis is likely to continue, no longer working to explain these apparently ‘spontaneous’ protests, so much as to understand why they have petered out. Much of the commentary on what has been labelled the ‘greatest challenge to the Islamic … Continue reading The Price of Eggs: Iran beyond liberalism and capitalism
In this month’s panel discussion, Jodie (1:14) tells us about documents with agency: “Ideas just get up and grow legs, and they run away with themselves.” (Trigger warning: this segment mentions the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. If you want to avoid that part, skip to 3:45.) Next, Ian (6:00) … Continue reading Ep. #4 Killer Docs, Imaginary Landscapes, Political Lies, and Emotional Risk: this month on TFS
Jodie, Simon, Julia, and Ian preview what's coming up on The Familiar Strange blog in the coming month. On today's show, Jodie (1:40) follows up on 2015 fracas at Yale about free speech and Halloween, in response to a discussion on Sam Harris' podcast "Waking Up" (www.samharris.org/podcast/item/facing-the-crowd); Simon (7:10) takes us to Iran for a look … Continue reading Ep. #1 Campus free speech, mundane governance, truth in politics, and creeps v. @ssholes: this month on TFS
For those of us who have grown up in the ‘West’, we tend to think of religion as a customizable category. Some of us are born into a particular sect, others with no particular orientation, and as we travel through life, we’re presented with a panoply of options from which to choose. Many of us … Continue reading Like a Skin
Anthropologists love to compare themselves to tourists. Nothing more confirms the merit of anthropology and its commitment to ‘in-depth’ fieldwork than the cultural missteps of globetrotters – especially wealthy Western ones – as they bumble through quagmires of etiquette and faux pas in the act of rubbing up against foreign cultures across the world. Anthropologists … Continue reading Ethnographers vs ‘Tourists’
Most of us will have seen over the past few days images of refugees, green card holders, and travellers, arriving in US airports only to be told that they have been denied entry on the basis of President Trump’s executive order banning entry to citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Iran. The … Continue reading Trump Misunderstands Iran
Growing up in middle class Australia, concepts of tolerance, respect, and the abstract celebration of diversity were part and parcel of my family’s commitment to multiculturalism as a social principle. People were different – and that was A Good Thing. After all, if we were all the same it would be well, pretty boring. In … Continue reading Experiencing Multiculturalism: When is Diversity, Diverse?