On October 16, 1971, the Shah of Iran inaugurated the Shahyad Aryamehr Monument. Less than nine years later, with Iran engulfed in the revolutionary events of 1979, the Shah would catch one last glimpse of this structure while leaving for exile. The Shah lost to the revolutionaries, the Pahlavi legacy gave way to the Islamic Republic, and Shahyad was refashioned as the symbolic monument of the revolution, and renamed Azadi (Freedom). This thesis explores the projection of this monument’s image by the Pahlavi monarchy and later its usage and appropriation by the Islamic Republic to explain its greater role in Iranian cultural politics of nation building. By examining the different ways in which the monument was fashioned, re-fashioned and represented this thesis demonstrates that Shahyad/Azadi played a central role within larger efforts of two Iranian regimes to define the nation’s past, present, and future.
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Thesis advisor: Kuehn, Thomas
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