In premise, space in a city is not neutral, not a tabula rasa empty of preconceptions. The killing of the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Jina "Masha" Amini in morality police custody in September 2022 has ensued a concurrent and momentous Iranian uprising, spotlighting Iranians' contemporary struggles at a global media forefront. This talk revolves around Iranian women's circumstances intersecting with themes of history, gender, space, rights, and culture. Through wide-ranging cultural and contextural discourse in-between the academic and personal, the talk will contextualize the circumstances in conjunction with gendered spaces, drawing inferences spanning history, spatiality, cultural heritage, and mythical crossings. The talk will rely on the concurrent events only as a center of a much more complex and intricate collective sphere of knowing around which to orbit, leading and giving rise to current moments and events. The sphere is an assemblage of revelatory spaces from which to open up into a multitude of essential familiarity thresholds and diverse perspective crossings. The talk will enter these spaces as windows toward a more broadened and multidimensional map of understanding to explore the complexities of Iranian women-space intersections. Organized under a triad of thematic headings entailing hostilities, porosities, and spontaneities, the monologue will engage complicated histories (pre/post-, contemporary/ancient, etc), gender roles, socio-political mishaps, and views on idiosyncratic Iranian resiliencies echoed through enacting, negotiating, redefining and contesting urban landscapes. The talk's ambitious aim would be to leave the audience empowered - entering genuine knowing thresholds - and vested in - choosing to push toward action: standing with the Iranian people.
An architectural designer, design researcher and urbanist, Sara Khorshidifard is an assistant professor and the director of the Center for Community Studies at Drury University's Hammons School of Architecture. Her principal research examines synergistic interplays and symbiotic interconnections between intentionally designed and socially constructed spaces. It entails a triad trajectory in Urban-Rural Interface Studies, Architectural Education and Tehran Studies. Her scholarships engage in new ways of thinking about cities beyond architectural objects, contemplating habitation, flows and vestigial spaces.