Theses Doctoral

Prison Days: Incarceration and Punishment in Modern Iran

Nikpour, Golnar

The Iranian prison is the subject of intense scrutiny for both opponents and supporters of the contemporary Islamic Republic. Despite these concerns, the 19th-20th history of Iranian crime and punishment has been given short shrift by scholars and political analysts alike. The historiographical silence on the history of confinement in modern Iran runs counter to an earlier Iranian intellectual trend, which took it as axiomatic that to live an ethical life meant eventual incarceration and probable torture. This dissertation argues that the prison has been a preeminent site from which modern discourses on rights, citizenship, justice, and the law have been staged, contested, and enacted. Through a study of previously unremarked on archives I argue that the history of the prison in Iran is no less than the fitful history of Iranian political modernity.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Dabashi, Hamid
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 28, 2015