This panel was compiled by the Conference Program Team from independently submitted paper proposals
In Dramas of Nationhood Lila Abu-Lughod offers an ethnographic account of the way in which the producers of Egyptian Television series and the Egyptian audience partake in an intriguingly complex form of nation building through the production and reception of these dramas. Purnima Mankekar’s Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India, shows the significant role of television series in India in shaping women’s place in family, community and the nation. Anthropologists have discussed soap operas, television series, and media in general, affecting particular notions of citizenry, kinship, ethical landscapes, … in other parts of the globe (Pertierra &Turner, Larkin, Hirschkind, and others).
But what does it mean for the Iranians to be so enamored with the Turkish television series so much so that they even plan their daily routines around them, or for the series to be referenced in political satires in some newspapers or appear in television programs in the form of comic shows or satirical episodes? Whose dreams of nationhood they generate in Iran? How do Iranians negotiate their own national cultural formations in relation to these series? What desires, sentiments, and imageries are they engendering or invoking among different social sectors? What possible nostalgia or fetishistic dreams of nationhood, religiosity, and citizenry they steer up or reveal in the Iranian current sociopolitical landscape?
A common travel destination, for many Iranians Turkey has come to offer a sense of being at once in a familiar and yet a foreign land, a Europe in the neighborhood. For others it is where dichotomies come to coexist, where the East meets the West, where religion and the so-called secularism hold hands. Are they any relationship between these sentiments and the popularity of these series? What inhibitions and uncanny vestiges do these series invoke among those Iranians who find them so desirable? What dreams and ideals they articulate?
Aside from the work of cultural translation, the dubbing adds a fascinating dimension to the convergence and negotiation of different trans-national ideals. What kind of translation does occur? What happens, for instance, when an Iranian popular song enters into these series, as if sung by a Turkish actress? This paper explores these questions to contemplate the role of language and translation, in narrow and broad sense of these terms, and the translations of dramas and dreams of nationhood in relation to the popular Turkish dramas in Iran.