In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Malihe Razazan speaks with Dr. Siamdoust about her work and some of the most important songs that continue to define modern Iran. Music was one of the first official casualties of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Yet, even though it was banned following the establishment of the Islamic Regime, it quickly crept back into Iranian culture and politics. Even the state made use of music for its propaganda during the Iran–Iraq War. Over time music provided an important political space where artists and audiences could engage in social and political debate. Now, more than thirty-five years on, both the children of the revolution and their music have come of age. "Soundtrack of the Revolution" tells the story the central role of music in various social upheavals in Iran dating back to the constitutional revolution of 1905.
Nahid Siamdoust is a Post-doctoral Associate and Lecturer at Yale University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies as of Fall 2017. Prior to that she taught at New York University’s Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, and was a research scholar at NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. After she obtained her doctorate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, she taught at Oxford as an Associate of the Sub-Faculty of Near and Middle East Studies. Her first book, Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Music in Iran, was published by Stanford University Press in 2017. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Art History from Barnard College, and a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University. Before returning to academia and concurrently with her studies, Nahid worked as a full-time Iran and Middle East based journalist for Der Spiegel, TIME Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and Al Jazeera English TV. Her academic research focuses on the intersection between politics, culture and media (music included) in Iran and the wider Middle East. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Malihe Razazan is producer and cohost of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa on KPFA Radio in Berkeley. She is also a producer and guest host ofYour Call, a daily public affairs program on KALW, local public radio station in San Francisco and a member of The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA). Malihe is the Co-Editor for Jadaliyya's Media page and host of weekly program "Media on the Margins."