Voices of the Middle East on 06/11/10
NonViolent Resistance from the Iranian Green Movement to the Freedom Flotillas: An intriguing dialogue with Professor Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, and Professor Ramin Jahanbegloo, University of Toronto
Ramin Jahanbegloo was born in Tehran, Iran. He has a doctorate in philosophy from Sorbonne University in Paris, France where he lived for twenty years. He was a post-doctorate fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.
Jahanbegloo's intellectual activity focuses on fostering constructive dialogue between divergent cultures. He has written numerous books and articles in Persian, English and French on the subject of Western philosophy and modernity.
In 1997-2001, he was an adjunct professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto in Canada. In 2001, he served at the National Endowment for Democracy as a fellow at the federally funded program, known as the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program.
Upon returning to Tehran, he was appointed head of the Contemporary Philosophy Department of the Cultural Research Center. In his efforts to promote dialogue, he has interviewed scholars and intellectuals from all over the world, among them George Steiner, Noam Chomsky, Ashis Nandy and the Dalai Lama. In recent years, he invited Richard Rorty, Timothy Garton Ash, Antonio Negri, and Michael Ignatieff and other Western intellectuals to Iran.
In late April 2006, on his way to an international conference in Brussels, Jahanbegloo was arrested by the Iranian authorities. On May 3, Iran judiciary branch officials confirmed that he was arrested and sent to Evin Prison. According to some sources, he was accused of spying.
On May 15, the Council of the European Union, following a meeting in Brussels, issued a press release expressing concerns about the detention of Jahanbegloo, including its underlying message that Iranians ought not to communicate or associate with Europeans:
"The Council is seriously concerned about the detention of the Iranian philosopher Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo. The Council calls upon Iranian authorities not to penalize Iranian citizens for their contacts with Europeans, including embassies, universities and cultural institutes".
On August 30, 2006, Jahanbegloo was released from prison after four months of confinement.
In 2006 and 2007 he was Rajni Kothari Professor of Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. In January, 2008 he returned to the University of Toronto as a professor of Political Science, Massey College Scholar-at-Risk, and Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethics at Trinity College. In 2009, he wrote a book, Talking Architecture: Raj Rewal In Conversation With Ramin Jahanbegloo. The book was inaugurated on 19th December, 2009 in New Delhi, India.
Ramin Jahanbegloo’s publications, in addition to numerous papers, include following books:
Talking Architecture: Raj Rewal In Conversation With Ramin Jahanbegloo (2009)
The Clash of Intolerances (2007)
Talking India: Conversations with Ashis Nandy (2006)
Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity (Global Encounters) (2004)
Gandhi: Aux sources de la non-violence: Thoreau, Ruskin, Tolstoi (Le temps et les mots)
Conversations with Isaiah Berlin (2000)
Hamid Dabashi (Persian: حمید دباشی) born 1951 in Ahvaz is an Iranian-American historian, cultural critic and literary theorist. He is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York City.
He is the author of nineteen books. Among them are his Authority in Islam; Theology of Discontent; Truth and Narrative; Close Up: Iranian Cinema; Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran; an edited volume, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema; and his one-volume analysis of Iranian history Iran: A People Interrupted.
Born and raised in southern city of Ahvaz in Iran, Dabashi was educated in Iran and then in the United States, where he received a dual Ph.D. in sociology of culture and Islamic studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He wrote his dissertation on Max Weber’s theory of charismatic authority with Philip Rieff, the most distinguished Freudian cultural critic. An award-winning author and frequent lecturer around the globe, he lives in New York with his wife and colleague, the Iranian-Swedish feminist, Golbarg Bashi.
Film and art
Professor Dabashi has also served as jury member on many international art and film festivals, most recently the Locarno International Festival in Switzerland. In the context of his commitment to advancing trans-national art and independent world cinema, he is the founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project, dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian Cinema. As a theorist of trans-aesthetics (“art without border”), his articles and essays on the relationship between art and politics have been featured, translated to many languages, and published by museums and cultural institutes in Europe.