Was just led (from this post, syndicated on Planet GNOME), to a fascinating article and interview, in which Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi takes Azar Nafisi and “Reading Lolita in Tehran” to task for her American neo-conservative ties, and her continuance of the canonization of the West and Western literature. An excerpt:

The factual evidence of the connection of Azar Nafisi to the US leaders of the neoconservative movement and her systematic deprecation of Iranian culture, and by extension local and regional cultures of actual or potential resistance to the US empire, glorifying instead a canonised inner sanctum for an iconic celebration of “Western literature,” are additional factors in placing her squarely at the service of the predatory US empire–the service delivered via the most cliché-ridden invocation of the most retrograde Oriental fantasies of her readers in the United States and Europe.

Mind you, this is not a simple “oh, the evil, imperialistic West” sort of argument. Dabashi admits that Iran “is a horrid theocracy with a treacherous record of human rights abuses,” and that “there is nothing wrong with changing the regime in Iran – the question is how.” But I see his point – taking a look at America today, is this really the culture you’d want to be “saved” by? And doesn’t the longest, most pervasive and most lasting change come from within?

In any case, especially as someone who’s read and enjoyed “Reading Lolita”, I have a feeling this one may stay in my brain for a bit. Links follow.

The original article, from Al-Ahram.

Interview from Zmag.org, with Foaad Khosmood.