Current Research Projects
- The Stench of War, a book project that looks at the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88). Narges has worked on the issue of chemical warfare use in the Middle East since 2005. She is the director of The Skin That Burns, a documentary film about survivors of chemical war in Iran, distributed by Film Media Group. The film has screened in The Hague, Holland; Hiroshima, Japan; Jaipur, India; Tehran, Iran and throughout the U.S. (New York, New Orleans, New Jersey, Chicago, and Irvine), at festivals and university campuses. She has also directed oral history projects on survivors of chemical weapons (archived at the Tehran Peace Museum). The academic book project that is under way arises out of this work, and will add to it archival research on chemical weapons manufacturing, as well as a media analysis of coverage of the events.
- America Held Hostage: How did news come to dominate our every-waking moment? America Held Hostage tells the timely story of how ABC News created the paradigm for "news-as-entertainment" that was the precursor to our 24-hour cable cycle. In an attempt to beat its competitors, ABC News executives decided in 1979 that they needed a worthy news story to hook Americans in on a nightly basis. When Iranian revolutionary students stormed the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979, taking hostages they had just the story they were waiting for. Ted Koppel's Nightline, the first nightly news magazine show, was born, setting the stage for what would become America's framework for reporting on Iran and the Middle East. "Iran has become more than simply a crisis. It is an obsession," Koppel said in one broadcast.Through archival footage of the ABC News coverage of the crisis and interviews with several people involved in the production of Nightline in 1979, and archival interviews of Ted Koppel himself, this project will result in an academic book as well as a film.
- Invitation to the Masses: The Russian and Iranian Revolutions and their Arts of Persuasion (a collaborative project with Professors Niloofar Haeri and Anne Eakin Moss): Political revolutions that result in the large-scale reorganizations of societies are rare throughout history because they must be accompanied by vigorous attempts to ensure the participation of large portions of the population. Throughout the 20th century, only a handful of major revolutions took place. This project will look at two revolutions that bookended the century: the Russian revolution of 1917 and the Iranian revolution of 1979. This project takes the visual production of the Russian and Iranian revolutions as live texts in order to understand how a revolution goes from a concept to a social reality via the use of arts and media technologies. Both the Russian and Iranian revolutions produced dynamic sets of media, and although there have been studies on the visual cultures of each revolution, the two have not been studied in a comparative fashion. A major reason to study them comparatively is the surprising similarities in aesthetic styles employed by both revolutions. Could such similarities point to a certain set of shared ideological commitments as well? How can a communist revolution and an Islamic one have anything in common?