The 14th episode of Parse is an excerpt from a presentation given by Pedram Partovi where he argues that Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi draws on at least two different cinematic universes in his 2016 movie The Salesman to address the aesthetic and social values of Western critics and Iranian audiences. In doing so, the filmmakers and characters model a subaltern consciousness, adapted from Antonio Gramsci’s analysis of “subaltern” social groups’ mediating role between the dominant and dominated, that has especially characterized the Iranian middle classes in their relationship with the hegemonic West since at least World War II.
Partovi is an associate professor of history at American University in Washington DC. He is a historian of the medieval and modern Islamic world. His current research focuses on the history of youth movements and their role in creating and disrupting the political order in Iran and the wider Middle East.