What cannot be denied, says Foucault, is that a remarkable event took place on the streets of Tehran in 1978, and a community of people staked their lives in commitment to it. In this moment, the massive, impenetrable walls of global capitalism, market imperialism, and Westernizing modernism that surrounded everyday Iranians, tunneling them toward an inevitable future, floated up from the ground to reveal the glimmer of a different future. Was this hallucination, was it hysteria, ideological blindness? Was it Foucault’s hallucination or a collective one?
A Separation focuses on the separation of Simin and Nader, an Iranian middle class couple. Simin wants to leave Iran with her daughter in order to pursue a better future, while Nader, who is a banker, wants to stay in Iran in order to take care of his senile father. It portrays the emotional struggles that arise from this separation as their daughter (played by Asghar Farhadi’s own daughter) and those around them are significantly affected by it. It also centers around a conflict that surfaces between Nader, and his working class caregiver, as the latter accuses Nader of being the cause of her miscarriage. It explores issues of morality and law, as well as class dynamic in modern day Iran.
Drawing on an ethnography of oral traditions and an extensive archive of sacred texts from shrines across the Uyghur homeland, Rian Thum’s work seeks to amplify how Uyghurs themselves imagined their community prior to the state, prior to modernity, perhaps even prior to Islam. In essence, Thum is arguing that the identifications of the Uyghurs are not centered around a national imaginary or ethnic community, but rather it was articulated through the oral recitation and amendment of sacred texts during pilgrimages to the shrines of the “bringers of Islam” (wali).
In particular, Michot intends to demonstrate the ways in which Ibn Taymiyyah’s Mardin fatwa has been misinterpreted by academics, orientalists, and Islamists alike. Over the course of his text, Michot provides an extensive introductory argument - wherein he explicates upon the concept of hijra, the distinction between a domain of peace and of war, and emphasizes the pragmatic and personalist nature of Ibn Taymiyyah’s writing - a translation of the Mardin fatwa with several complementary fatwas, and fragmented interpretations of the Mardin fatwa written by famous Islamists and academics.