Wartime Propaganda and Gender in Ahmad Mahmoud’s The Scorched Earth: A Dissident Reading

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.26

Keywords:

Ahmad Mahmoud, The Scorched Earth, Persian fiction, Iran-Iraq War, gender dissidence, propaganda

Abstract

The Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) has been the subject of many aesthetic productions in contemporary Persian literature. The Iranian mass media during the war with Iraq described the armed conflict as holy and masculine, and propagated the replacement of the word “war” with “sacred defense” to urge authors to write within this established framework and reflect the ideals of the State. Opposed to such an ideological view of the war, the prominent Iranian novelist Ahmad Mahmoud began to express dissent in his works of fiction such as The Scorched Earth (1982). This study, therefore, analyzes Mahmoud’s scope of dissidence toward wartime propaganda and gender in the above mentioned novel to articulate how Mahmoud raises important questions regarding the State’s view of war and the established gender norms in Iran at war. It uses cultural materialist dissident reading and textual analysis to study Mahmoud’s contempt for wartime propaganda through the text’s portrayal of desperate people in Khorramshahr in the southwest of Iran caught between Iraqi airstrikes and artillery fires, and domestic problems including inflation, looting and mismanagement.

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Author Biography

Ramin Farhadi, Azad University of Karaj, Iran

Ramin Farhadi, MA in English Literature, is an independent scholar who is interested in the intersection of literature, politics and history. His main areas of research include contemporary British political playwriting, contemporary Iranian drama and fiction, Shakespeare and adaptation studies. He reads literary texts through the critical lens of cultural materialism, post-structuralism, sociopolitical criticism and gender studies in order to explore representations of dissident politics, sexual identities and social inequalities alongside of mapping power relations and ideological implications. His publications, among others, include “Power and Surveillant Gaze in Howard Barker’s The Gaoler’s Ache” in International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature (IJALLEL) and “Self-Fashioning in Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution: Artistic Imagination vs. Political Authority” in Education Research Journal, both published in 2017.

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Published

2020-11-24

How to Cite

Farhadi, R. (2020). Wartime Propaganda and Gender in Ahmad Mahmoud’s The Scorched Earth: A Dissident Reading. Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (10), 460-476. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.26