Negar Mottahedeh

Negar Mottahedeh

Associate Professor of Literature

External address: 
125C Friedl Building (E. Campus), Buchanan And Trinity, Durham, NC 27708-0670
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0670
(919) 681-3461


I am a cultural critic and theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film and Media Studies. I have published four books on Iranian Cinema, the history of reform, revolution and the uses of social media in protest. My new book "#iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life" (Stanford University Press, 2015) is about one such social media mobilization. "#iranelection" follows the protest movement around Iran's fraudulent presidential election in 2009 to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed as a result of the international solidarity around the hashtag. Just as the world turned to social media platforms to understand the events on the ground, social media platforms adapted and developed to accommodate  global activism. "#iranelection" reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, to the uses of hashtags and trending topics, of selfies and avatar activism, citizen journalism and YouTube mashups.

Fluent: English, Farsi (Modern Persian), Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk
Proficient: French, German, Arabic (Classical and Modern), Spanish

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1998

  • M.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1994

  • B.A., Mount Holyoke College 1990

Selected Grants

Abdu'l Baha in America or How did a Middle Eastern 19th Century Reformer Impact American Cultural Life and Politics? awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2011

A Research Project to Highlight the History, the Production, as Well as the Aesthetic and Stylist Traditions of Six Worl awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2003 to 2004

Mottahedeh, N, Szeman, I, and O'Driscoll, M. After oil 2015 (Accepted). Petrocultures Research Group (in partnership with press), 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015. (Monograph)

Mottahedeh, N. Introduction. April 3, 2013. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008. (Monograph)

Mottahedeh, N. Representing the Unpresentable: Images of Reform from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2008. (Monograph)

Mottahedeh, N. "Review of Pedram Khosronejad's 'Iranian Sacred Defence Cinema: Religion, Martyrdom, and National Identity'." Ed. P Khosronejad. Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia 1.2 (2013): 178-180.

Mottahedeh, N. "Abbas Kiarostami." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 29.3 (September 2009): 409-411. Full Text

Mottahedeh N, . "Review of Richard Tapper's 'The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation, and Identity'." Ed. R Tapper. Iranian Studies 38.2 (June 2005): 341-344.

Mottahedeh, N. "Review of Hamid Naficy's 'An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking'." Iranian Studies 36.3 (2003): 398-400.

Mottahedeh N, . "Review of Kamran Talattof and Jerome W. Clinton's 'The Poetry of Nizami Ganjavi: Knowledge, Love, and Rhetoric'." Journal for Iranian Research and Analysis (2001): 113-114.

Mottahedeh, N. "The people: The #selfie's urform." Selfie Citizenship. January 1, 2017. 59-62. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. "Abdu’l Bahá and the Baha’i Message of Human Solidarity (Accepted)." The First Universal Races Congress of 1911: Empires, Civilizations, Encounters. Ed. M Bonakdarian, IC Fletcher, and Y Simpson Fletcher. 2016. (Chapter)

Mottahedeh, N. "One Light : Cinema and Islamic Spirituality (Accepted)." Whiley-Blackwell Companion to Islamic Spirituality. Ed. B Lawrence and V Cornell. 2016. (Chapter)

Mottahedeh, N. "Crude Extractions: the Voice in Iranian Cinema (Accepted)." Locating the Voice in Film. Ed. T Whittaker and S Wright. 2016. (Chapter)

Mottahedeh, N. "Tehran in Cinema (Accepted)." Tehran in the Iranian Cultural Imaginary. Ed. N Rahimieh and D Parviz Brookshaw. 2016. (Chapter)

Mottahedeh, N. "Karbala Drag Kings and Queens." Eternal Performance: Ta'ziyeh and Other Shiite Rituals. Ed. PJ Chelkowski. London: Seagull Books, 2010. 149-169. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Woman is Color: on Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Gabbeh." Cines del Sul (International Film Festival Book). May 2008. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Women, Gender and Constituting the Female Body." Iran, Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Ed. S Joseph. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2006. (Essay)

Mottahedeh, N. "Female Body as Metaphor." Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. Ed. S Joseph. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2006. (Essay)


Mottahedeh, N. "Hashtag solidarity in Iran: How the Green Movement mobilized social media in the interest of social change." Stanford University Press Blog (June 2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "Anatomy of a Tweet." The Immanent Frame: a journal for the SSRC (February 2015).

Mottahedeh, N. "How #Iranelection Transformed the Public Sphere." IslamiCommentary: Forum for Public Scholarship (June 2014). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N, and Saljoughi, S. "Rethinking Gender in Contemporary Iranian Art and Cinema Introduction." IRANIAN STUDIES 45.4 (2012): 499-502. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. "Brainquake Not Boobquake." Religion Dispatches (May 2010).


Mottahedeh, N. "Iranian Women in Protest 1953, 1978, 2009." Ed. Beller, J. Scholar and Feminist Online: Feminist Media Theory 10.3 (2012). (Special Issue)

Mottahedeh, N. "Negative Refractions: Recent Feminist Writing on the Middle East." Women’S Studies Quarterly: the Global Intimate 34.1/2 (2006): 464-470. (Special Issue)

Mottahedeh, N. "Karbala Drag Kings and Queens." The Drama Review: Ta’Ziyeh 49.4 (2005): 73-85. (Special Issue)

Mottahedeh, N. "'Life is Color!' Towards a Transnational Feminist Analysis of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's 'Gabbeh'." Signs 30.1 (2004): 1403-1426. (Special Issue)

Mottahedeh, N. "A Revolutionary Meme." Cinema Journal: In Media Res (August 2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "#iranelection." The Page 99 Test (July 2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "A Revolution of Flesh and Data." Duke Magazine (July 2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "Hashtag solidarity and the radical kinship of Twitter’s #iraneletion." Medium (June 2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "How #Iranelection transformed the Public Sphere." IslamiCommentary: Forum for Public Scholarship (June 16, 2014). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "Allah-o-Akhbar." ArteEast Quarterly C+: The Iran Issue. (April 2012). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "Brainquake Not Boobquake." Religion Dispatches (May 2010). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "Green is the New Green: Social Media and the Post Election Crisis in Iran 2009." New Politics 8.1 (2010). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mottahedeh, N. "Picturing Ourselves: 1953, 1979 and 2009." Frontline: Tehran Bureau (July 2009). (Scholarly Commentary)

Education under Fire. Consultant. (2011)

Middle Eastern Film Festival. Curator. (2011)


Film festival at Duke University.

Twitfilm. Consultant. (2009)

Twitfilm. Consultant. (2009)


First Twitter Film Festival

Accented Cinemas of the Middle East film series. Consultant. (2009)


Duke University. Fall and Spring 2009 & 2010.

Holding up Half the Sky: Muslim Women in Film,. Consultant. (2008)


Film festival held at Duke University

“Axis of Evil": Aftershocks. Consultant. (2008)


Denison University Museum