Northwestern Events Calendar


MENA Monday Night at the Evanston Public Library. Understanding Iran’s Presidential Election—A Talk by Saeid Golkar

When: Monday, June 5, 2017
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM CT

Where: Community Meeting Room (1st floor), Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, IL

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free of charge and open to the public!

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Iran's May 19 presidential election could prove to be the most important in the history of the Islamic Republic. It will determine whether Iran will continue down the path of normalization or return to a politics of securitization.

Saeid Golkar is Lecturer in the the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University and a Senior Fellow for Iran policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

He is the author of the book Captive Society: The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran (Columbia University Press, 2015). Here is a summary of the book:

Iran's Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed (Sazeman-e Basij-e Mostazafan), commonly known as the Basij, is a paramilitary organization used by the regime to suppress dissidents, vote as a bloc, and indoctrinate Iranian citizens. Captive Society surveys the Basij's history, structure, and sociology, as well as its influence on Iranian society, its economy, and its educational system. Saied Golkar's account draws not only on published materials—including Basij and Revolutionary Guard publications, allied websites, and blogs—but also on his own informal communications with Basij members while studying and teaching in Iranian universities as recently as 2014. In addition, he incorporates findings from surveys and interviews he conducted while in Iran.

"This is the first full-length study of this critical organization in the Iranian power structure. Saeid Golkar provides a comprehensive account of the Basij's organizational structure, insight into the social background of its membership, the training and indoctrination of the members, and the Basij's extensive security, watchdog, and propaganda role in Iranian society."

—Shaul Bakhash, George Mason University


This event is part of the MENA Monday Night series, a partnership between Northwestern's MENA Program and the Evanston Public Library aimed at improving the public's understanding of the MENA region and allowing space for questions and discussion.

MENA Monday Night events are free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required, but helps us plan our seating. You may register with the Evanston Public Library online at or by calling the Reference Desk at 847-448-8630.

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