This is the official webpage for Torture and Modernity: Self, Society and Iran (1994). Torture and Modernity is a genealogy of torture and punishment in Modern Iran, starting from the early Qajar period to the mid-1990s. It examines the ways contemporary torture is linked to how societies rationalize. It focuses on how torturers are trained, locating what Iranian torturers did among other modern economic, political, and social practices. It describes the forms of subjectivity that arise in the context of a society in which torture remains a persistent, and even expected practice regardless of changes in governments. The book also critically examines the ways Iranians and others (including philosophers and social scientists) tell the story of how torture persists n Iranian society. By contrast, I offer an alternative account of how torture fits into modern life, one that is an antidote to our untenable histories, histories that make us think torture is out of place in our present.

“The most comprehensive and ambitious attempt to locate the use of torture in the process of modernization in a single extensive case study is that of Darius Rejali, Torture and Modernity. By considering the late nineteenth century ot the present, Rejali has produced a work whose importance extends far beyond Iranian history.”

-Edward Peters, Torture (2nd ed.)

Darius Rejali is professor of political science at Reed College and an internationally recognized expert on government torture and interrogation. He is the author of Torture and Democracy (2007). 

You can learn more about Prof. Rejali here as well as descriptions of his current research projects. For Farsi speakers, below is a link to a BBC interview on Prof. Rejali’s work.

BBC Interview (March 2010) (in Farsi)