Negar Mottahedeh

Negar Mottahedeh

Associate Professor of Literature

External Address: 
125C Friedl Building (E. Campus), Buchanan and Trinity, Durham, NC 27708-0670
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0670
(919) 681-3461


I am a cultural critic and theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film and Media Studies. I have published four books on Iranian Cinema, the history of reform, revolution and the uses of social media in protest. My new book "#iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life" (Stanford University Press, 2015) is about one such social media mobilization. "#iranelection" follows the protest movement around Iran's fraudulent presidential election in 2009 to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed as a result of the international solidarity around the hashtag. Just as the world turned to social media platforms to understand the events on the ground, social media platforms adapted and developed to accommodate  global activism. "#iranelection" reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, to the uses of hashtags and trending topics, of selfies and avatar activism, citizen journalism and YouTube mashups.

Fluent: English, Farsi (Modern Persian), Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk
Proficient: French, German, Arabic (Classical and Modern), Spanish

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1998

  • M.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1994

  • B.A., Mount Holyoke College 1990

Selected Grants

Abdu'l Baha in America or How did a Middle Eastern 19th Century Reformer Impact American Cultural Life and Politics? awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2011

A Research Project to Highlight the History, the Production, as Well as the Aesthetic and Stylist Traditions of Six Worl awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2003 to 2004

Mottahedeh, N., and S. Saljoughi. “Rethinking gender in contemporary iranian art and cinema.” Iranian Studies, vol. 45, no. 4, July 2012, pp. 499–502. Scopus, doi:10.1080/00210862.2012.673828. Full Text

Education under Fire. Consultant. (2011)

Middle Eastern Film Festival. Curator. (2011)


Film festival at Duke University.

Twitfilm. Consultant. (2009)

Twitfilm. Consultant. (2009)


First Twitter Film Festival

Accented Cinemas of the Middle East film series. Consultant. (2009)


Duke University. Fall and Spring 2009 & 2010.

Holding up Half the Sky: Muslim Women in Film,. Consultant. (2008)


Film festival held at Duke University

“Axis of Evil": Aftershocks. Consultant. (2008)


Denison University Museum