The documentary The Fabulous Life and Thought of Ahmad Fardid (Ali Mirsepassi & Hamed Yousefi, 2015) explores the life and thought of Iranian philosopher Ahmad Fardid in his intellectual crusade to halt rising western influence in Iran. The self-proclaimed philosophical spokesperson for the Islamic Republic, Fardid constructed a “mystical” and “spiritual” political philosophy that undertook to deliver Iran from the culturally “debasing” and spiritually “dehumanizing” experience of Iranian modernity. Under the conspicuous influence of German philosopher Martin Heidegger, Fardid called for the recovery of modern Iran to its Islamic roots, a project fueled by his concept of Ghabzadegi (“Westoxification”)— which would quickly become a buzzword in the Iranian critique of the modern, secular West.
The film features extensive interviews with Fardid’s former colleagues, associates, students, as well as scholars of modern Iran, and uses rare and previously inaccessible footage of Fardid’s debates featured on Iranian television. More broadly, the film presents a comprehensive intellectual history of modern Iran, from the post-Constitutional (1906) to the post-Islamic Revolutionary periods, through a figure whose obscure philosophical path remains largely absent from prevailing conceptions of the rise of political Islam.
Ali Mirsepassi, Albert Gallatin Research Excellence Professor of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies in NYU’s Gallatin School and Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, will present this documentary, which he co-created with Hamed Yousefi.
Co-sponsored by NYU Gallatin School for Individualized Study, the Urban Democracy Lab, Iranian Studies Initiative (ISI-NYU), and Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies