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Iran and the Rise of the 21st Century Intellectuals

A lecture in Persian by Ata Hoodashtian, Institut Canadien de Management. Commentary by Dr. Ali Akbar Mahdi follows.

Our epoch is witnessing the disappearance of 20th century intellectuals characterized by political totalitarianism, ideological thought and ultra-centralism in all forms of political organization. The question that will be addressed in this lecture is whether the disappearance of 20st century intellectuals implies the end of intellectualism in general. How can one characterize a 21st century intellectual? How did the discourse of postmodern criticism impact the emergence of this new figure? How can the rising intellectual play a fundamental role within dictatorships such as Iran? The emergence of the Social Network in the world has altered the definition and understanding of civil society and power, both in theory and practice. In fact, the 20th century was a century characterized by a “vertical view” while the 21st century is characterized by a “horizontal view”. The social and political movements of the 21st century are evolving without strong and charismatic leadership, without pyramidal political organizations and totalitarian ideologies, which in itself contrasts with the 20th century. This emerging reality is clearly visible in the North African and the Middle Eastern movements. The same situation could be observed in the Iranian Green movement in 2009. This point to a great historical transformation which has altered the reality and role of intellectuals both in relation to political power and social movements. In 2009, Iran experienced this shift, brought about by a new generation of intellectuals that clearly belongs to the 21st century. This lecture will consider this development.

Ata Hoodashtian received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Paris (St.Denis) in 1998, MA and DEA in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University, France. He is Associate Professor in Philosophy and Political Science, and director of the “Institut Canadien de Management”, based in Montreal, Canada. He has taught in France for a period of 10 years at the University of Paris (8), Grandes Ecoles, and worked in Central Asia for 3 years, as Assistant Professor and Director of the Research Center at KIMEP University in the city of Almaty. He has collaborated with Yale University, European Universities, and NGOs and has been Chair of the Editorial Board of the “Central Asian Journal” for two years, published in collaboration with YALE Center for Research and KIMEP University in Kazakhstan. He is a member of the CRISE, research center at the University of Paris 8 since 1997. Dr. Hoodashtian has published articles and gave conferences in Paris, Montreal, Toronto, Brussels, and two books on ‘Modernity and the Orient’ (2002), and ‘Modernité sans Occident" (Modernity without the West) (2006). His areas of research are: Modernity, Modern and traditional philosophical systems (East and West), Métissage of Values (composition of modern and traditional values), Intercultural Management, International Politics, Islamic society, Iran and modernity, the Middle East and Central Asia.

www.ahoodashtian.com

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