Muddling through a Revolution

According to author Naghmeh Sohrabi, the 1979 revolution still ripples throughout the diaspora of Iranians who participated in it. In writing recent history, many scholars turn to oral history as methodology. But as Sohrabi writes, sometimes historians should consider ethnography, too. Ethnography proved effective in her study of the revolution, which turned out to be more "muddled" than official histories convey, including within the networks of participants who emigrated after the transformative event. The cover photograph captures this sense of a muddle, as Iranians stand outside a sacked police station shortly after the revolution was declared victorious, reading through the previous government's files. Photograph: Rana Javadi, Break In, 1979. Gelatin silver print. 20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm). Private collection. Image courtesy of Asia Society.


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