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Title:The state and university: The ''Islamic Cultural Revolution'' in the institutions of higher education of Iran, 1980-1987
Author(s):Mojab, Shahrzad
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tozer, Steven E.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Education, History of
Political Science, Public Administration
Education, Higher
Abstract:The thesis is a study of the Islamic Cultural Revolution initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1981 in order to Islamize the institutions of higher education. Data are based on official documents, participant observation, interviews and press reports.
The universities played a vital and vanguard role in the anti-Monarchy revolution of 1978-79. Led by leftist and nationalist students and faculty, the institutions advocated university autonomy and the establishment of a secular, democratic and independent state system. Politically, the ICR was the Islamic state's attempt to remove the opposition from the universities and to integrate the institutions into the Islamic state. Ideologically, it aimed at desecularizing the institutions and turning them into ideologically loyal institutions. The leftist students/faculty/staff were purged, strict political and ideological screening was placed on admissions and employment and student/faculty behaviour was closely monitored. Clergymen were appointed to administrative/teaching positions, males and females were segregated and Islamic ideology courses were introduced in all fields of study. The most ambitious plan was to restructure the universities along the tradition of Shi'ite Islamic schools known as Howze and to combine expertise with commitment to Islam.
The main finding of this study is that the Islamic Cultural Revolution has failed. In spite of superficial reforms, the universities have not changed in terms of function (training highly skilled labor for a diversifying capitalist economy and an expanding state bureaucracy), teaching/learning methods (experimentation and observation), curriculum (predominantly secular content aimed at training professionals), and the absence of academic and political freedom.
The ICR was conducted by a state that had monopoly over education, was in control of the country's industry and economy, had silenced the opposition forces and the media, and was headed by a still popular figure, Khomeini. Moreover, Islam boasts a long tradition of higher learning. The failure of Islamization in an Islamic society having gone through an "Islamic revolution" is explained in terms of fundamental constraints on the state: economic ties between education, economy and the state, opposition to state policy, and factional conflict within the state. The theoretical implications of the Iranian case for the study of state-university relations are discussed.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Mojab, Shahrzad
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-02
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210922
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210922

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