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Republics of Myth: National Narratives and the US-Iran Conflict

Conventional accounts of US-Iran relations focus mainly on the geostrategic and ideological sources of tension and enmity between the two countries. Republics of Myth illuminates a much-neglected, yet no less potent, factor shaping US-Iran relations: national narratives. Through in-depth interviews, oral histories, and critical dialogues with Iranian and American policymakers, journalists, and academics, the authors provide new perspectives on the frameworks shaping decision-making, policy discussions, and missed opportunities in US-Iran relations since 1979.

Date & Time

Thursday
Nov. 10, 2022
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

Location

Zoom Webinar

Overview

Conventional accounts of US-Iran relations focus mainly on the geostrategic and ideological sources of tension and enmity between the two countries. Republics of Myth illuminates a much-neglected, yet no less potent, factor shaping US-Iran relations: national narratives. Through in-depth interviews, oral histories, and critical dialogues with Iranian and American policymakers, journalists, and academics, the authors provide new perspectives on the frameworks shaping decision-making, policy discussions, and missed opportunities in US-Iran relations since 1979.

Hussein Banai is an Associate Professor of International Studies in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, and a research affiliate at the Center for International Studies at MIT. He is the author of Hidden Liberalism: Burdened Visions of Progress in Modern Iran, and co-author of two volumes on US-Iran relations. He earned his PhD in Political Science from Brown University.

Malcolm Byrne is Research Director at the nongovernmental National Security Archive where since 1997 he has also run a multinational and multiarchival project exploring U.S.-Iran relations.  Author or editor of 10 books, his most recent (prior to Republics of Myth) is Worlds Apart: A Documentary History of US-Iranian Relations, 1978-2018 (Cambridge, 2021). He has published in a variety of media outlets and academic journals. He is on the editorial board of H-DIPLO and the scholarly advisory board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.

Speakers

Hussein Banai

Hussein Banai

Associate Professor of International Studies in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
Malcolm Byrne

Malcolm Byrne

Former Public Policy Scholar;
Deputy Director, Director of Research at the National Security Archive

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more