On April 10, 2017, Behrooz Ghamari, professor of History and Sociology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, visited Duke University to discuss his new book, Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution (OR Books, 2016).
Remembering Akbar focuses on the turbulent aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Ghamari examines the stories of a group of people who shared a cell on death row in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. Through his biographical depictions, Ghamari documented the relationships, memories, and inner lives of these political prisoners, many of whom were eventually executed. By revealing these linked memories, Ghamari succeeds at creating an alternative history as told by the losers. The prisoners and their stories shed light on the daily, mundane horrors of life in prison and the connections these prisoners were able to make with each other.
A number of students, professors, staff, and community members attended the event and were deeply impressed by Ghamari's talk. First-year student Gino Nuzzolillo said, "Behrooz Ghamari's time at Duke was an incredible and eye-opening event for the Duke community and the residents of Alspaugh [a freshman dorm where the event was hosted]. The chance to learn about his time during the Iranian Revolution reinforces the significance of the event in today's world, but also showcases the lives and roles of individuals in major historical events."
The event was sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Duke Islamic Studies Center, the Cultural Anthropology Department, and Duke University Middle East Studies Center.