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Humanities 2018, 7(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7010021

Reading Derrida in Tehran: Between an Open Door and an Empty Sofreh

Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia), Australian National University, Canberra 0200, Australia
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract

We can only begin to grasp hospitality as we enact it and yet, in the moment of enactment, hospitality eludes us. In this paper I look at the enactment of hospitality in the relationship between Iranian citizen-hosts and Afghan refugee-guests in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in order to reflect more broadly on questions of Derridean hospitality. Moving between the theoretical and the ethnographic, I forcefully bring to bear on a situation of protracted refugee displacement, a notion of hospitality that has, to a large extent, remained abstract and unanchored. The scalar shifts between the domestic and the national (so integral to Derrida’s theorising of the hospitable), are here reproduced in an examination of Iranian hospitality that simultaneously considers the juridical framework of asylum in the Islamic Republic and the domestic or homely expression of welcome, that occurs in the ushering of the guest over the threshold and the sharing of food around the sofreh. View Full-Text
Keywords: Derrida; hospitality; Iran; Afghan refugees Derrida; hospitality; Iran; Afghan refugees
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Yarbakhsh, E. Reading Derrida in Tehran: Between an Open Door and an Empty Sofreh. Humanities 2018, 7, 21.

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