MES Graduate Research Seminar 4 @ University Of Cambridge: Faculty of Asian And Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge [1 June]

MES Graduate Research Seminar 4

16:00 - 18:00

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University Of Cambridge: Faculty of Asian And Middle Eastern Studies
Sidgwick Ave, CB3 9 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
The Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is excited to announce the Middle Eastern Studies Graduate Research Seminars. Please join us for a series of presentations by the faculty's graduate students and guest speakers.

The third installment will be taking place on the evening of Thursday 1 June, followed by light refreshments.

4 PM Room 8 | Seminar Presentations
5 PM Common Room | Refreshments

Push and Pull: How State and Society Interact to Produce the Enforcement of the Islamic Republic’s Hejab Regulations
Nikta Daijavad, MPhil student (POLIS, University of Cambridge)

Studying the Transnational Network of Salafi-Jihadist Claim-Makers
Azzam Al-Kassir, PhD student, (Politics, Birkbeck College)


«Push and Pull»:
In the thirty-eight years since the revolution imposed a compulsory hejab requirement, the women living in the Islamic Republic of Iran have observed a curious phenomenon: hejab regulations undergo periods of increased and decreased enforcement. This paper seeks to identify the causal mechanism(s) behind the cyclical nature of hejab enforcement. To do so, it is crucial to examine the interplay between state and society on this issue: what is the relationship between what Iranian women demand and what the regime is willing to concede? This project contributes to the broader literature on authoritarianism and women’s rights. The case study of Iranian hejab regulations and the inconsistent enforcement thereof allows us to understand the relationship between authoritarian states and the societies they govern more broadly. Further, it helps us begin to understand how effective mass mobilization can be within the constraints of an authoritarian regime.

«Salafi-Jihadist Claim-makers»:
In this paper, I am arguing that there is a 'transnational epistemic community of Islamist frame-articulators'. The Salafi-Jihadist frame is the outcome of collective discursive practices and strategic calculi made by members of a transnational network of Islamist scholars. Therefore, it is crucial to shed light on the shared interests, binding factors, and communication channels linking members of this network. To this end, I will utilise Peter Haas’s concept of epistemic communities in an attempt to study systematically the nature and contribution of the global network of Salafi-Jihadist scholars.
The main function of this epistemic community of ideologically committed scholars is to discursively transform Islam into a mobilising force. Additionally, this meso-level community mediates between a broadly defined Salafi-Jihadist movement and its multiple organisational manifestations (e.g., al-Qaeda in Syria).


NIKTA DAIJAVAD is an MPhil candidate in International Relations and Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies. Her research focuses on women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and more broadly on state-society relations and the capacity of social movements to effect change within Iran and other authoritarian contexts. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley.

AZZAM AL-KASSIR'S research is entitled 'Continuity and Change in the Thought and Praxis of Salafi-Jihadism: Reading into the writings of ideologues and strategists of al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra)'. He has a master's degree in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter. He earned his bachelor's degree in Politics from the University of Damascus.
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