English in Post-Revolutionary Iran: From Indigenization to Internationalization

SEP 17, 2013 | 6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




September 17, 2013: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM







The indigenization movement began some 30 years ago at the onset of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which replaced the country’s two-millennium-old monarchy with an Islamic theocracy – generally understood as a historical reversal of the modernist direction the country had taken since the Constitutional Revolution of 1906.

Maryam Borjian explores the issues around language and the perceptions of English as “suspicious” within Iranian society. The indigenization movement, together with anti-Western and anti-imperialist sentiments, has continued to dominate the political and educational discourse of post-revolutionary Iran for the better part of the past three decades. Yet, despite the state’s 30-year-long constant efforts, the existing system of English education in Iran is not entirely indigenized. Rather, it is marked by two diverging forms of English: (1) the indigenized model that is used by the state-run education programs, and (2) the internationalized or Anglo-Americanized model, which is used by private-run education programs throughout the nation. The latter model is the one currently in vogue and most demanded by Iranians.

Professor Maryam Borjian, a Columbia University’s Teachers College alumna, is the Coordinator of the African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Language Programs in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL) at Rutgers University where she also teaches courses on the politics, economics and sociology of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian languages.

Prof. Ofelia Garcia will offer remarks. She teaches in the PhD Program in Urban Education as well as Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages at the Graduate Center, CUNY.