This panel was compiled by the Conference Program Team from independently submitted paper proposals
Iranian-Armenians are among minority populations of Iran whose contributions to the economic, political, socio-cultural and intellectual developments of Iran, as well as their tremendous suffering as invisible minorities, has yet to be explored. Looking at Iranian-Armenian novelist, Zoya Pirzad’s “The Day before Easter,” I will explore the hybrid Iranian-Armenian identity of her characters. I will examine the complex and rigid definition of Iranian-Armenian identity in modern Iran and the ways that Armenian minorities of Iran consider themselves both as part of the Iranian nation and apart from it. I will also touch upon the anxieties inherent in the encounter between the Armenians and Muslims of Iran, much like the encounter of the self and the other, and the ways in which such demarcations are maintained particularly within inter-religious marriages between Armenians and Muslims. I will examine Pirzad’s characters as liminal figures that defy categorization. I will draw upon the socio-cultural taboos such as inter-religious marriages, and will discuss the characters struggle to simultaneously uphold the dominant socio-cultural values and transgress them. I will explore how Pirzad’s characters, both Armenians and Muslims, depict the marginalization of those who transgress and are forced to adopt a low social profile. I will highlight the characters desire to break away with traditions and norms while acknowledging the high price they need to pay. Ultimately, I would like to look at Pirzad’s own hybrid identity and explore the ways that she negotiates this identity through her work. I will use historical, literary, cultural, and theoretical methodologies to depict that while these liminal figures live on the margins of the society, they occupy a significant space in the social imagination of the dominant culture.