The Regime of Martyrdom

The link is to my M.A. thesis (2012) that analyzes the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) as a vehicle to build a new Shi’a sovereignty in Iran.

The Regime of Martyrdom: mechanisms of inventing a Shi’a Sovereignty during in Iran-Iraq war 

Woman and Martyrdom


The Islamic republic of Iran, in its current formation, is rooted in the power relations that the Iran-Iraq War generated. However, scholarship on the Iran-Iraq War with respect to building a new Shi’a sovereignty in the post-revolutionary Iran is an uncharted territory. This research explains the rationale and function of the war, as a state of exception, with respect to creating a new Shi’a sovereignty through inventing a brand-new form of manhood and womanhood. This form of sovereignty building necessitated a mechanism of inventing a new female and male body. In fact, because during the war the notion and practice of sacrifice, in the form of martyrdom, was the central driving force of making a new Shi’a sovereignty, this thesis attempts to explain the sacrificial origins of the Islamic republic. In other words, the central concern of this research is, “How did practices and power relations generated by the war around martyrdom give birth to a new Shi’a sovereignty?”

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