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Women Write IranNostalgia and Human Rights from the Diaspora$
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Nima Naghibi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780816683826

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816683826.001.0001

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Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Empathic Witnessing

Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Empathic Witnessing

Prison Memoirs

(p.45) Chapter 2 Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Empathic Witnessing
Women Write Iran

Nima Naghibi

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the tension between “marketable” narratives of trauma that secure a sympathetic listening audience and autobiographical accounts of those experiences that struggle, in a homeless and unclaimed state, in search of an audience. These narratives are also part of a wave of testimonial literatures that foreground suffering, and that compel the reader to take up a compassionate stance. This chapter explores the ways in which some of these narratives of prison trauma compel a politics of compassion, and so force an ethics of response in the reader. But it also considers why some contemporary diasporic Iranian prison narratives are more affecting, and more successful in their circulation as humanitarian narratives than others.

Keywords:   trauma narrative, autobiography, marketability, testimonial literature, prison, politics of compassion, affect

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