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Neda Soltani (2013-2020)


Memory, Displacement and National Identity: A Gendered Analysis of Iranian Diaspora in Germany

Memory, Displacement and National Identity: A Gendered Analysis of Iranian Diaspora in Germany

For the last thirty-five years, Islamic Republic of Iran has been one of the hotbeds of emigration. The phenomenon of forced migration has touched Iranians of all political, religious, socio-economical and ethnic backgrounds, and has sent countless numbers of women and men into exile. A large number of such individuals have sought protection and refuge in Germany and have formed an ethno-national semi-diaspora at the heart of Western Europe. Outside of their Iranian patriarchal context, these women and men, however, hold fast to their re-constructed national identity, their sense of belonging to the same land and cherish their glorious ancestry which dates back to the Persian Empire – most probably a defense mechanism against the Islamic fundamentalism that the name Iran connotes for many of them. Theoretically building on the extensive bulk of research conducted in memory studies, migration studies and gender studies, the proposed PhD project aims at understanding how the cultural memory of Iranian diaspora influences the formation of their sense of belonging and national identity in exile, and what the impact of gender difference on this process as well as on the individuals' level of engagement with their new environment is. Due to the lack of comprehensive research on the Iranian exile community in Germany – as well as elsewhere in Europe – this project will not only bring Iran to the academic migration discourse, but will also feed into the existing literature on gender, memory and exile through a gendered analysis of the ways in which women and men remember and consequently re-construct their sense of selfhood and identity outside the geographical setting, in which they were socialized.

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Schirin Amir-Moazami

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf