Call for Paper: Iranian Cosmopolitanism
Journal Editor: Ulrika Mårtensson, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Special Issue Editors: Milad Odabaei, University of California, Berkeley, and Christopher Cochran, University of California, Santa Cruz
This call for paper invites contributions that will provide theoretical advancements in understanding textual, conceptual, historical and sociological contours of “Iranian Cosmopolitanism.”
The need for theoretical advancement is propelled by the dilemma intrinsic to theorization of non-European cosmopolitanisms. Conceptions of “cosmopolitanism” destabilize the demarcations of terrestrial fixities and invite us to consider the political and ethical significance of the movement of peoples, things and ideas that exceed the constitution of territorial identities. At the same time, however, cosmopolitanism’s political and ethical registers are indebted to the vicissitudes of philosophical and religious traditions that underlie the identity of Europe. Inevitably, the analysis of the “cosmopolitanism” of non-Europeans, as in Iran, put forward sociological determinations with a European genealogy. When European sociological determinations are reflected back into the object of study, in this case Iran, the conclusion too easily appears that the cosmopolitanism of Iran, if it exists, comes to Iran from Europe. Hence, many scholars have resigned to always tracing cosmopolitanism back to Europe, where it is conceptually at home, while others ignore this dilemma, risking disavowal so they may better express the actuality of non-European expression of cosmopolitanism.
Highlighting this dilemma, we seek both case studies and theoretical considerations that bear on the conceptualization of “Iranian cosmopolitanism.” Particularly, we invite studies of religious traditions, and the place of religion in Iranian statecraft that inform Iranian cosmopolitanism and its ethical and political registers. We wonder what political and religious traditions, textual flows, concepts and exchanges can make possible dialogue with the European concept of cosmopolitanism, perhaps bending or even breaking its meaning as a result, and bringing forth singularities that may be otherwise hidden. If instead such a dialogue is found to be unattainable, we ask scholars to theorize its impossibility. What are the unique ways in which religious traditions relate to Iranian politics, statecraft and empire at different moments of Iranian development and decline? What is the relation between political and religious belonging in Iran? Do they coincide? Does one trump or engender the other? Or is political belonging defined independently of religious affiliation? Contributors’ case studies may elaborate religious pasts and occulted presences that express belonging to both Iran and to a world that extends beyond Iran. They may put forth concepts and theories that have garnered to shape a political authority that can be properly identified as Iranian, and thereby at the same time provide contours of an Iran that belongs within a world that exceeds its own identity.
Abstracts of up to 300 words should be submitted to Milad Odabaei and Christopher Cochran firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2016.
The contributors will hear from the editors by March 15, 2016. The deadline for article submission is September 15, 2016. The articles, including all notes, are expected to be between 6000-8000 words in length and follow the journal’s style guide.