Cultural Engineering Under Authoritarian Regimes: Islamization of Universities in Postrevolutionary Iran

The purpose of this article is to analyze the efforts that have been made to Islamize Iranian universities, specifically since the emergence of hardliners in 2005. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Islamic regime relentlessly intensified its efforts to Islamize universities to train a new generation of ideologically driven students. In the three decades following the Revolution, three major periods of university Islamization have been implemented. The Cultural Revolution, which started in 1980, was the first step in the Islamization of Iran’s universities: to cleanse the higher education systems from students and professors who criticized the new established Islamic regime. By increasing the number of students and the development of universities throughout Iran in the Rafasanjai era, the second wave of the Islamization of the university was triggered by Ayatollah Khamenei in 1994. During the reform era, the Islamization of universities slowed because of the many confrontations between the Supreme Leader and the reformist administrations. With the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election, the Islamization of universities intensified. While there are a few publications about the Islamization of universities, they mainly focused on the first and second decades following the 1979 Revolution. Focusing on the third period, this article will investigate the different strategies and tactics for the Islamization of universities, as well as reasons for its failures.

Digest of Middle East Studies:

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