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May 17, 2018 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Roble Gym 139

Free + Open to the Public.


“The Bio-Political Economy of the Reel Cabaret Dancer in Twentieth-Century Iran”

A lecture by Dr. Ida Meftahi, Visiting Assistant Professor at the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, University of Maryland

Exploring the cabaret scene as well as several interconnected realms of the popular culture of the Pahlavi-era (1926-1979) in Iran, this lecture interrogates the cinematic constructions of the cabaret-dancer, a common character-type of the pre-revolutionary commercial cinema, vis-à-vis her social narratives. Drawing from Dr. Meftahi’s historiographical and ethnographic study of dance in Iran, this lecture will examine the emergence of the popular entertainment cabaret scene and its (female) dancing body in light of 20th-century domestic urban transformations and biopolitics, the socio-economics of the popular stage, the formation of cultural categories, and ideological discourses on public performance.

Discussant: Dr. Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh,

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies, Dept. of Theater & Performance Studies, Stanford

Ida Meftahi is a Visiting Assistant Professor of contemporary Iranian culture and society at the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, University of Maryland. Her first book, Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage was published in 2016 (Routledge Iranian Studies Series). Her research has also appeared in Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater: Artistic Developments in the Muslim Cultural Sphere (2011), Islam and Popular Arts (2016), Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity (2016), International Journal of Middle East Studies (2016), among others. She is currently working on her second manuscript, a spatial humanities reading of Tehran’s historic entertainment district, while directing the Lalehzar Digital Project, a component of the Roshan Initiative for Digital Humanities.


Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies 2017 - 2018 is curated around the theme of “Mediations of Movement: Theorizing Dance on Screen.” For more information about the Colloquium and this year’s speakers, visit: All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. For any accessibility needs, please contact Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh:

The Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies is sponsored by the Mellon “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities” initiative and is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 2017-2018 co-sponsors include the Office of the Vice President for the Arts, Stanford Humanities Center, the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity, Stanford Global Studies, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, the Department of Theater & Performance Studies, the Film & Media Studies Program - Department of Art History, Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies, and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies.

Event Sponsor: 
Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, Humanities Center, Stanford Colloquium on Dance Studies, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford Arts, Department of Art & Art History, Stanford Department of Theater & Performance Studies , Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
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