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 explores the very first nightly program dedicated solely to broadcasting news about the Middle East to American living rooms. Ted Koppel's Nightline on ABC began its evening broadcast in 1979, with the storming of the American Embassy in Tehran, by young Iranian revolutionaries. The 52 American hostages were held for 444 days. Through archival footage, interviews with journalists, former U.S. officials, American hostages, and Iranian hostage takers, America Held Hostage delves into the creation of "obsessive" (as Ted Koppel called it) news coverage that eventually led to the 24-hour news cycle. The 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?