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New Media and Political Movements: How the Internet has Shaped the Iranian Green Movement

January 31, 2012
01:00PM - 02:30PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 300
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Categories: Seminar

In this talk, Babak Rahimi will discuss the role of new media, in particular the Internet, in the Iranian Green Movement, a political protest movement that emerged after the contested 2009 presidential elections in Iran.

During the Seminar, Dr. Rahimi will show the intricate relationship between political activism and cyberspace, and how political movements sustain or (re)invent themselves online in close connection with offline activism. Dr. Rahimi argues that cyberprotests, particularly in the case of the Iranian Green Movement, involve the creative configuration of complex “performative networks” that essentially interact through meaning-laden performances that carve out shifting spaces of dissent. For political movements, especially under authoritarian rule, new media presents an alternative social space wherein conceptions of self and other, resistance and power shape distinct bonds of interactivity, social bonds that open up new ways of doing politics, new ways of imagining the political. From Neda Agha-Sultan’s video clip to February 14th (2011) demonstrations, mostly organized on Facebook and other social networking sites, Dr. Rahimi will explore various online political activities and ultimately identify new media as a distinct public site that entails transgressive modes of communication.

Babak Rahimi is the 2012-2013 Post Doctoral Research Fellow for CGCS’ Iran Media Program. Dr. Rahimi is an Assistant Professor in the Program for the Study of Religion at UC San Diego’s Department of Literature. He received a Ph.D from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy, in October 2004. Rahimi has also studied at the University of Nottingham, where he obtained a M.A. in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, and London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, 2000-2001. Rahimi has written numerous articles on culture, religion and politics and regularly writes on contemporary Iraqi and Iranian politics. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the national endowment for the Humanities and Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute, and was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC and a visiting scholar at the Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Rahimi’s current research project is on the relationship between digital culture, politics and religion in post-revolutionary Iran.

This event is part of the Spring 2012 CGCS Seminar Series, “Internet Policy Formation: Global Actors, Global Outcomes”. It is co-sponsored by the Middle East Center at Penn