Naveed Mansoori is a political theorist interested in media, religion and dissent, focusing on the intellectual history of modern Iran. He received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California-Los Angeles. His current book project, “After Prophecy: Propaganda and the Politics of Truth in Contemporary Iran,” examines how literary, aural, cinematic, televisual and digital media ecologies have emerged as informal pedagogical spaces and as sites of subject-formation.
“After Prophecy” begins with Shi’a intellectuals in the interwar period, who popularized a narrative of decline where modernity signaled the culminating end of the prophetic tradition. Shi’a intellectuals saw in propaganda the potential to revive prophecy. The book project tracks the afterlife of this discourse through the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the founding of the Islamic Republic to the 2009 Green Movement. It demonstrates that in moments of crisis concerning national identity, propaganda restored faith in the world and enacted it anew. Broadly, “After Prophecy” contributes to our understanding of political theory and practice in aberrant times when the circumstances prerequisite for the empirical unity of consciousness have disintegrated. Specifically, it demonstrates how utopian spaces emerged and endured, during critical moments in contemporary Iranian history that elicited despair.
An article of his published in Theory & Event, “Things Unheard: Popular Silence and the Popular Voice in Revolutionary Iran,” theorizes the silent and shared collectivity that later erupts in noisy rebellion against the Pahlavi State. The article traces this argument to our present to enrich understanding of shared silence in political life. Mansoori’s research situates the contemporary history of Iran in a conceptual landscape that encompasses postwar French and German political thought as well as anti- and de-colonial traditions of political theory in the Third World, including but not limited to the Middle East.
Mansoori is co-editor of Jadaliyya’s Iran page online. He has also published work in Comparative Islamic Studies and in Society & Space. He has a forthcoming contribution to L’esprit and Liberation: An Ali Shari’ati Reader, and is co-editing a handbook on the lived experience of ideology for “The Routledge Handbooks on Political Ideologies, Practices and Interpretations” book series. From 2017–2019, he held the Elahé Omidyar Mir Djalali Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies.
Before coming to Princeton University, Mansoori was an ACLS Emerging Voices Fellow in the Religion, Race, & Democracy Lab at the University of Virginia.