Sandra Schäfer

on the set of 1978ff

In 1978/79, the Shah regime was overthrown in Iran and the Islamic Republic established shortly thereafter. This revolution has often been interpreted as anti-monarchist, anti-imperialist, nationalist, and/or religious. Yet it was not simply initiated by ardent followers of the revolutionary leader Khomeini; it was also broadly supported by socialists, workers, the poor and the bourgeois middle classes—everyone from feminists to the religious.

But how was the revolution transformed into an apparently homogeneous Islamic revolution? And why was the foundation of the Islamic Republic supported by people with such widely varying political convictions, from so many different factions? Sandra Schäfer pursued these two, fundamental questions in her filmic research project on the set of 1978ff.

This specific historical event—but also Islam’s politicization, which led to the founding of the Islamic Republic—is unique in the so-called Muslim world. Thus further questions become unavoidable: in what way could a historical reconstruction and consideration of the events open up a deeper understanding of the present situation and present possible perspectives? Beyond dynamics within Iran itself, how has the Islamic Revolution influenced its neighbors, the Middle East and the West/Global North? What led to the present perception of political Islam as a global phenomenon that cannot be reduced to the Arab/Persian region, but one that—through migration and media—has also been inscribed in the West (the Global North) and is appearing in Africa and Asia as well?
Sandra Schäfer

Sandra Schäfer continued this research at the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, extending it to include the Islamic Revolution’s influence in Turkey.

In the 2012 summer semester, Sandra Schäfer presented her work and working methods in the Literary Theories—Public/s seminar at the Institute of Languages and Literatures, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Innsbruck, which took place at under the direction of Julia Prager.

Sandra SCHÄFER is an artist and writer based in Berlin. Her works deal with the representation of gender, urbanism and (post-)colonialism. She works with a focus on film and video installations and collaborates with artists and theorists in Kabul, Tehran, London, Barcelona and Berlin.