The Cultural Revolution in the Universities of Iran 1981-87

The Cultural Revolution was a period after the 1979 revolution in Iran, when all universities in Iran were closed for three years (1980-83). After these three years, the students/faculty/staff that were not in compliance with the new regime were purged, strict political and ideological screening was placed on admissions and employment, and student/faculty behavior was closely monitored. Clergymen were appointed to administrative/teaching positions, males and females were segregated and Islamic ideology courses were introduced in all fields of study. The most ambitious plan was to restructure the universities along the tradition of Shi'ite Islamic schools known as Howze and to combine expertise with commitment to Islam. Politically, the Islamic Cultural Revolution was the Islamic state's attempt to remove the opposition from the universities and to integrate the institutions into the Islamic state. Ideologically, it aimed at desecularizing the institutions and turning them into ideologically loyal institutions. The Cultural Revolution can be categorized in three stages: first, theoretical development of the revolutionary transformation of the educational system; second, the attempt to close universities and to purge dissident student groups from universities; third, university closures and establishing of Cultural Revolution council.
The focus of this paper is a descriptive study of the formation of the Cultural Revolution. To answer the question whether the Cultural Revolution was a project orchestrated by the government; whether it was the outcome of the political conflicts of various militia groups in the universities; or whether it can be explained in terms of power struggle within the government. Do we see different approaches to the Cultural Revolution among male and female students? What are the political and ideological foundations of the Islamization of the universities? Do we see the foundation of Islamization in the works of influential scholars such as Ali Shariati , Morteza Motohari, Ahmad Fardid, Seyed Hossein Nasr? Was the Islamization influenced by China's experience and Marxism, what is the evidence? How the "Islamization" was implemented? What are the consequences of the Cultural Revolution?