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Virtual Lecture: “Chronopolitical Assemblages: How gender reassignment makes racial genus in modern Iran”” with Dr. M. Shadee Malaklou, Berea College

October 22, 2020 | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Join Duke Alumni as they talk to the personal, intellectual, academic, and spiritual trajectory through life, Duke, and graduate school. Register in advance.

This talk examines the co-constitutive relationship between race/ism, sexuality, and time in modern Iran to argue that contemporary Iranians use a racial calculus to measure sexed and gendered modernity. It intervenes in how Iranians today narrate their experiences of gender non-conformity in popular media produced for the West to suggest that gender in Iran is a code word for race, is a code word for genus, or ‘jins’. I argue that the Islamic Republic’s uncanny support for sex change employs the logic of race science not to make trans subjectivities but, rather, to make a new Iranian: one that, in being trans, is able to climb the human’s ladder of time, which is his ladder of racial modernity, in order to be eligible for the polished and perfected (but notably, not universal) humanism that Enlightenment Europe promised to Iran but never delivered.

Shadee Malaklou is a critical race and gender and sexuality studies scholar with expertise in Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1952). Her research argues that gender and sexuality are produced as identity and type through the exclusion of black people from Euro-American discourses of modernity-or, from its social and political construction of time (i.e., its chronopolitics). This research contributes significantly not just to the study of racial blackness but also to how we understand how the non-black subaltern. In addition to writing for academic journals, she regularly publishes think pieces, most recently, in The Conversationalist, The Feminist Wire, and CounterPunch (and here) and periodically contributes to Always Already: A Critical Theory Podcast as the Frantz Fanon correspondent. In addition to her appointment at Berea College, Malaklou serves as visiting faculty in the Centre for Expanded Poetics at Concordia University in Montreal. She received her PhD in Culture and Theory and graduate certificates in Critical Theory and Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Irvine and her BA in Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Duke University. More information.

This event is sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center, Duke University Middle East Studies Center, The Center for Muslim Life at Duke, Juhood Magazine, and The Focus Program at Duke.


Duke University


October 22, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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