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., et al. After oil 2015. Petrocultures Research Group (in partnership with press), 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life. Stanford University Press, 2015.

Mottahedeh, N. Introduction. 2013, pp. 1–13. Scopus, doi:10.1057/9781137032010. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's journey West: The course of human solidarity. 2013, pp. 1–196. Scopus, doi:10.1057/9781137032010. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema. Duke University Press, 2008.

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Pedram Khosronejad's 'Iranian Sacred Defence Cinema: Religion, Martyrdom, and National Identity'.” Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia, edited by P. Khosronejad, vol. 1, no. 2, 2013, pp. 178–80.

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Nacim Pak-Shiraz's 'Islam in Iranian Cinema: Religion and Spirituality in Film'.” Contemporary Islam, Aug. 2012, pp. 79–80.

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum's 'Abbas Kiarostami'.” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, vol. 29, no. 3, Aug. 2009, pp. 409–11. Manual, doi:10.1080/01439680903115911. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Hamid Dabashi's 'The Making of a Rebel Filmmaker: Makhmalbaf at Large'.” Cinema Journal, vol. 49, 2009, pp. 167–69.

Mottahedeh N, N. “Review of Richard Tapper's 'The New Iranian Cinema: Politics, Representation, and Identity'.” Iranian Studies, edited by R. Tapper, vol. 38, no. 2, June 2005, pp. 341–44.

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Hamid Naficy's 'An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking'.” Iranian Studies, vol. 36, no. 3, 2003, pp. 398–400.

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Nasrin Rahimieh's 'Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History'.” Iranian Studies, vol. 36, no. 1, 2003, pp. 141–45.

Mottahedeh N, 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, pp. 113–14.

Mottahedeh, N. “Review of Nader Ahmadi and Fereshteh Ahmadi's 'Iranian Islam: The Concept of the Individual'.” Iranian Studies, vol. 33, no. 1–2, 2000, pp. 200–01.

Mottahedeh, N. “The people: The #selfie's urform.” Selfie Citizenship, 2017, pp. 59–62. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45270-8_7. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. “Crude Extractions: the Voice in Iranian Cinema.” Locating the Voice in Film, edited by T. Whittaker and S. Wright, 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. “Tehran in Cinema.” Tehran in the Iranian Cultural Imaginary, edited by N. Rahimieh and D. Parviz Brookshaw, 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. “Abdu’l Bahá and the Baha’i Message of Human Solidarity.” The First Universal Races Congress of 1911: Empires, Civilizations, Encounters, edited by M. Bonakdarian et al., 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. “One Light : Cinema and Islamic Spirituality.” Whiley-Blackwell Companion to Islamic Spirituality, edited by B. Lawrence and V. Cornell, 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. “Karbala Drag Kings and Queens.” Eternal Performance: Ta’ziyeh and Other Shiite Rituals, edited by P. J. Chelkowski, Seagull Books, 2010, pp. 149–69.

Mottahedeh, N. “Woman is Color: on Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Gabbeh.” Cines Del Sul (International Film Festival Book), 2008.

Mottahedeh, N. “The New Iranian Cinema.” Traditions in World Cinema, edited by L. Badley et al., Edinburgh University Press, 2006, pp. 176–89.

Mottahedeh, N. “Women, Gender and Constituting the Female Body.” Iran, Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, edited by S. Joseph, Brill, 2006.


Mottahedeh, N. Unruly voices and Narratives. Amodern, 2016.

Mottahedeh, N. “Anatomy of a Tweet.” The Immanent Frame: A Journal for the Ssrc, Feb. 2015.

Mottahedeh, N. “How #Iranelection Transformed the Public Sphere.” Islamicommentary: Forum for Public Scholarship, June 2014.

Mottahedeh, Negar, and Sara Saljoughi. “Rethinking Gender in Contemporary Iranian Art and Cinema Introduction.” Iranian Studies, vol. 45, no. 4, 2012, pp. 499–502. Wos-lite, doi:10.1080/00210862.2012.673828. Full Text

Mottahedeh, N. “Green is the New Green: Social Media and the Post Election Crisis in Iran 2009.” New Politics, vol. 8, no. 1, July 2010.

Mottahedeh, N. “Brainquake Not Boobquake.” Religion Dispatches, May 2010.


Mottahedeh, N. “Iranian Women in Protest 1953, 1978, 2009.” Scholar and Feminist Online: Feminist Media Theory, edited by J. Beller, vol. 10, no. 3, 2012.

Mottahedeh, N. “Negative Refractions: Recent Feminist Writing on the Middle East.” Women’S Studies Quarterly: The Global Intimate, vol. 34, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 464–70.

Mottahedeh, N. “Karbala Drag Kings and Queens.” The Drama Review: Ta’Ziyeh, vol. 49, no. 4, 2005, pp. 73–85.

Mottahedeh, N. “'Life is Color!' Towards a Transnational Feminist Analysis of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's 'Gabbeh'.” Signs, vol. 30, no. 1, 2004, pp. 1403–26.

Mottahedeh, N., et al. Political Consciousness of a Selfie. Stanford University Press Blog, July 2015.

Mottahedeh, N. “A Revolutionary Meme.” Cinema Journal: In Media Res, Aug. 2015.

Mottahedeh, N. “#iranelection.” The Page 99 Test, July 2015.

Mottahedeh, N. “A Revolution of Flesh and Data.” Duke Magazine, July 2015.

Mottahedeh, N. “How #Iranelection transformed the Public Sphere.” Islamicommentary: Forum for Public Scholarship, 16 June 2014.

Mottahedeh, N. “Allah-o-Akhbar.” Arteeast Quarterly C+: The Iran Issue., Apr. 2012.

Mottahedeh, N. “Brainquake Not Boobquake.” Religion Dispatches, May 2010.

Mottahedeh, N. “Green is the New Green: Social Media and the Post Election Crisis in Iran 2009.” New Politics, vol. 8, no. 1, 2010.

Mottahedeh, N. “Picturing Ourselves: 1953, 1979 and 2009.” Frontline: Tehran Bureau, July 2009.

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