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IU experts available to comment on protests in Iran after woman’s death in police custody

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Iranian government is violently cracking down on the country’s largest protests in more than a decade, which were sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman while in police custody. Mahsa Amini was arrested by the so-called morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s hijab law and died three days later.

Amini’s family says she was tortured, disputing claims by Iran’s security forces that she collapsed due to a heart attack. Protests across the country are calling for expanded freedoms and women’s rights. Indiana University experts in Iranian society, religion and the politics of dress are available to comment.

For more information, contact Barbara Brosher at bbrosher@iu.edu or 812-855-1175.

Asma Afsaruddin
IU Bloomington

Asma Afsaruddin

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Professor Asma Afsaruddin is an expert on Islamic studies, including Islamic religious and political thought, contemporary Islamic movements, gender roles and Islam in modern society. Her latest book is “Contemporary Issues in Islam.”

Expertise

Pre-modern and modern Islamic religious and political thought; Quranic hermeneutics; Hadith criticism; exegetical, legal and ethical perspectives on jihad and martyrdom; Muslim attitudes toward the People of the Book; Islam and religious pluralism; gender roles.
Heather Akou
IU Bloomington

Heather Akou

Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
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Heather Akou is an associate professor in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, specializing in histories of fashion, dress and the body. She is also director of the Sage Collection, co-coordinator of the fashion design program, a member of the editorial board for Bloomsbury Fashion Central (a major online resource for fashion studies based in the U.K.), and co-founder and co-director of the Dress and Body Association.

Expertise

Laws and political rhetoric about clothing, masks for COVID-19, political T-shirts, the history of legislation on face coverings, service-industry uniforms.

Hussein Banai
IU Bloomington

Hussein Banai

Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies/Department of International Studies

Assistant professor Hussein Banai’s research is focused on Iran’s political development as well as on United States and Iran relations. He has co-convened on a critical oral history project – along with colleagues at Brown University, MIT, the George Washington University and the University of Waterloo – on U.S. and Iran relations since 2007. The project brings together former Iranian and American officials, scholars, journalists and other interested parties to explore missed opportunities and breakthroughs in U.S. and Iran relations since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Expertise

Comparative and international thought, liberalism in modern Iran, democratic theory, U.S. and Iran relations, diplomatic theory and practice.

Jamsheed Choksy
IU Bloomington

Jamsheed Choksy

Department of Central Eurasian Studies

Distinguished Professor Jamsheed Choksy’s research broadly covers the development of societies, especially sectarian communities, in Central Asia, the Near East and South Asia studied through interdisciplinary approaches involving history, religious studies, international affairs, politics, anthropology, archaeology, language, literature and numismatics. He focuses specifically on Iranian and Persian studies, Indian subcontinental studies, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Manichaeism. Choksy has conducted fieldwork in Iran, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, among other countries.

Expertise

Ancient and modern Zoroastrianism, Islamic studies, history of religions, archaeology and languages of the Near East and Central Asia.

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