On September 24, 2022, Manijeh Moradian, assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, published new research in the academic journal American Quarterly. Titled “‘Down with the Shah!’: Political Racialization and the Iranian Foreign Student Revolt,” the article analyzes the "political racialization" of Iranian Marxist students in the U.S. from the late 1960s to 1979.
Engaging with critiques of orientalism as the singular framework for understanding racism toward SWANA (South-West Asia and North Africa) populations, Prof. Moradian explains how the political actions and attitudes of a celebrated "imperial model minority" group, rather than rigid notions of religious/cultural difference, precipitated the shift from fighting communism to fighting Islamic terrorism as the global rationale for U.S. imperialism. Her research reveals that when young actvists challenged American support for the Shah, they were labeled terrorists as a result. Even now, new generations of anti-imperialist thinkers must confront a situation in which the U.S. and Iran position themselves as geopolitical enemies.