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PRWR 6550 presentation of Iraj Omidvar's article on "Study of Photographs of Iran: Postcolonial Inquiry into the Limits of Visual Representation." Use of images covered under creative commons licensing with credit to Flikr photographer Hamed Saber.

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  1. 1. Stereotypes.<br />
  2. 2. Just a set of ideas.<br />
  3. 3. A Study of Photographs of Iran<br />Essay by IrajOmidvar<br />Postcolonial Inquiry into the Limits of Visual Representation<br />
  4. 4. In 2002, on the edge of war, how do you present Iran to an American audience of churchgoers, students, and teachers?<br />
  5. 5. How do you overcome perceptions and redefine innocent words and images?<br />Iran<br />euro<br />mullah<br />women<br />oil<br />ayatollah<br />Tehran<br />hejab<br />religion<br />freedom<br />Hussein<br />Qur’an<br />
  6. 6. If you chose to share images, what kind of pictures would you show? <br />What would you want people to notice? <br />What would you want to conceal?<br />
  7. 7. Show the colors?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />All images courtesy of Flikr with photographer attributed.<br />
  8. 8. Show the <br />people?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  9. 9. Show the similarities?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  10. 10. Show the land?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  11. 11. Show the beauty?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  12. 12. Show the mosques?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  13. 13. Show the urban life?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  14. 14. ©Hamed Saber<br />Show the rural life?<br />
  15. 15. Show the nomadic life?<br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  16. 16. Re-seeing Iran<br />Which representation of Iran is true?<br />
  17. 17. Conflicting Pedagogy<br />Aristotelian<br />Know audience's preferences<br />Establish credibility<br />Abbreviate arguments<br />Correct flawed ideas<br />Stereotypes are an oversimplification of ideas<br />Remedied with accurate information<br />Assumes an agreed-upon social reality<br />Socratic<br />Guided dialogue<br />Raises questions of ideology and values<br />Opportunity for discussion<br />Ambiguous conclusions<br />Recognizes complex influences of society and situation<br />Considers the “other” in understanding what is stereotyped and why<br />Challenges ideological and interpretive frameworks<br />
  18. 18. The initial reaction is to counter stereotypes. Statistics and images are chosen to correct misperceptions and offer an alternative, superior perspective. There is no mutual exchange or negotiation of ideas.<br />
  19. 19. Statistics<br />Iran Statistics<br />+70 million population<br />+1.5 million university students<br />+85% literacy rate<br />+40,000 villages with electricity<br />Widespread cell phone use<br />Diverse landscapes: mountains; woods; desert<br />500,000 automotive industry employees<br />Self-sufficient wheat production<br />Points of Intersection<br />Historical events and figures of mutual respect and support prior to 1939<br />Historical events of invasion and military action post 1939<br />American invasion and occupation in WWII<br />1953 American-financed and organized coup d'état of democratically elected premier<br />Iranian hostage-taking of U.S. embassy staff in Tehran<br />U.S. support of Iraq during Iraq-Iran war<br />
  20. 20. Iran and the United States have a mixed, violent history; however there is a foundation of respect and peace that can be restored.<br />Iran is progressive, industrious, and modern. It’s people are educated and provided for within their own country. The landscape is diverse.<br />
  21. 21. Images<br />The intent is to engage positive similarities, pique cultural interest, and obscure negative differences. <br />Dramatic architecture<br />Modern environments<br />Cars, expressways, parks, stores, homes, families<br />Diverse landscapes<br />Mountains, valleys, forests<br />Industrial settings<br />Manufacturing plants, machinery<br />Women of power and prestige<br />Physicians, dentists, VPs, faculty, election campaigners, protestors<br />Women engaged in public life<br />Driving, voting, playing games, skiing, sky-diving<br />
  22. 22. Negotiating Stereotypes.<br />
  23. 23. Truth and possibility are uncertain.<br />
  24. 24. Who’s looking?<br />The situation of the photographer and the viewer can be just as telling as the photograph itself. <br />©Hamed Saber<br />
  25. 25. If there is no absolute, then where do the stereotypes come from? A dialecticapproach encourages critical discussions that delve deeper into ideological issues and question the value systems of both the subject and viewer.<br />
  26. 26. Revised Pedagogy<br />Images are expanded to include more diverse depictions of political figures, living environments, and conditions of society. <br />Moreover, images are analyzed collaboratively to uncover the hidden truths, beliefs, and stereotypes of the subject, photographer, and viewer. <br />
  27. 27. ©Hamed Saber<br />
  28. 28. ©Hamed Saber<br />
  29. 29.
  30. 30. Final Thoughts<br />A photo can only say so much, but it can speak so much louder when it is not limited by a single mindset or hidden for fear of judgment.<br />Individuals are complex and imperfect. Imagine the overwhelming intricacy of an entire nation and the many facets required to form a truthful representation of its people.<br />
  31. 31. Workshop<br />Select a search term and an image from Flikr.<br />As a class, explore the stereotypical elements of the images. <br />Speculate about the motives and background of the photographer.<br />