The Iranian Revolution, 1979: Memory, Desire, and a Search for Identity

Jessica Singh

Abstract


The Iranian Revolution of 1979 is sometimes illustrated as a religiously motivated movement. This article attempts to deconstruct the notion of the Iranian Revolution as a “religious revolution.” It further reveals that the various religious actors who were ultimately able to topple the Shah in 1979 through their protests were not able to do so without the help of other actors. In this way, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not emerge from a drive for an ‘Islamic’ economic and social order as is sometimes presupposed. Rather, in addition to particular religious aspirations, the Revolution was transpired through various cultural, political, and ideological motives as well. This article will examine the multiplicity of reasons for which there emerged a mass revolutionary movement in Iran. In particular, it will focus on the effects that the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 and the Shah’s westernization measures had on the Iranian population.

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University of Victoria
Victoria, BC
Canada