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Precarities of Academic Freedom: On Detention In Iran - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Homa Hoodfar

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Noura Erakat speaks with Homa Hoodfar about her ordeal and more broadly about the precarious status of academic freedom and knowledge production. 

In early 2016, Homa traveled to Iran for personal and professional reasons. After a month-long stay, just one day before her departure, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard confiscated her travel documents and prevented her from leaving. They arrested her three months later. Professor Hoodfar spent 112 days, or about 4 months, in jail before Iran released her to Oman and finally back home to Montreal. Find out more about her experiences, and how this shaped her perceptions today, in this Status/الوضع interview with Noura Erakat.

Homa Hoodfar is a Canadian-Iranian sociocultural anthropologist and professor emerita of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal.

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Population (2016 est.): 80,274,604
Government: Republican Parliamentary Democracy
Year of independence: 1923
GDP: $856.8 billion (2016 est.); $1.698 trillion (2016 est., purchasing power parity)
Unemployment: 10.9% (2016 est.); Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24): 24.5% (est. Jan 2017)
Internet Users: 53.7% - 42.681 million (July 2015 est.)
Exchange Rate: ~ 3.5 Turkish lira per US dollar (2016 est.)
GDP Growth Rate: 2.9% (2016 est.)
Military Expenditures: 1.69% of GDP (2016) (World Rank: 35)
Health Expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2014) (World Rank: 103)
Population Growth Rate: 5.4% of GDP (2014)
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 25.08% (male 10,303,153/female 9,833,713); 15-24 years: 16.11% (male 6,605,634/female 6,329,921); 25-54 years: 43.15% (male 17,541,137/female 17,094,141); 55-64 years: 8.36% (male 3,335,021/female 3,374,965); 65 years and over: 7.3% (male 2,603,655/female 3,253,264) (2016 est.)
Literacy: 95% (Male: 98.4%; Female: 91.8% [2015 est.])
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 80-85%; Alevi Muslim 15-20%; Christian (various denominations) 0.13%; Jewish 0.03%
Ethnic Demographics: Turks 80%, Kurds 18%, Arabs 1.4%, Armenians 0.1%, and other (Assyrian, Greek Orthodox, Georgian, Circassian) 0.5%
Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Albanian, Neo-Aramaic Laz, Ladino
Area: 301,159 square miles