The Islamization of universities has been the cornerstone of the Iranian regime’s higher educational policy since its ascent to power in 1979. Since the victory of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has relentlessly attempted to control and suppress dissident students and professors in an effort to train a new generation of ideologically driven students. Although the Islamic Republic was successful in co-opting a group of university students by means of ideological and materialistic incentives, a majority of students became less ideological and more critical of both the regime and its staple ideologies. These continuous struggles between the state and universities have given rise to several important questions: Why and how has the Islamic Republic Islamized and controlled universities? To what extent have these strategies succeeded or failed? Why and how have students responded to state domination?
Saeid Golkar is a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Service at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and concurrently, a non-resident Senior Fellow on Middle East Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA). His research focuses on international and comparative politics of authoritarian regimes with an emphasis on the Middle East. His book, Captive Society: The Basij Militia and Social Control in Post-revolutionary Iran (Columbia University Press, 2015), was awarded the Washington Institute silver medal prize.